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The Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

The 1957 Penal Code of Ethiopia, was on 9th May of 2005, and a new Criminal Code was  brought into enforcement. The factors that necessitated the revision of the Penal Law of Ethiopia are as follows:

  1. To Incorporate the Modern Legal Concepts: During, nearly half a century? Since the 1957 Penal Code came into enforcement, several radical political, economic and social changes have taken place in Ethiopia. Among the factors that brought the changes, recognition of modern legal concepts by the Constitution and the international agreements ratified by Ethiopia were the major. The important phenomena that have been recognized in the Country in the recent past are:
    1. The equality between religions, nations, nationalities and peoples,
    1. The democratic rights and freedoms of citizens and residents,
    1. The Human rights,
    1. The rights of social groups like women and Children.

It is true that the Constitution guarantees respect for the cultures of peoples, surely it does not intend to support those practices which are scientifically proved to be harmful. It is the responsibility of the legislature, by adopting progressive legislations, to educate and guide the public to discontinue such harmful traditional practices.

Comprehensive Criminal Code, 2005 is intended to put an end to such practice.   

      In order to introduce all the above mentioned revisions and to adopt a comprehensive Criminal Code, substantive activities have been undertaken throughout the country. Discussions have been held on the draft Criminal Code prepared by the Ministry of Justice and the Justice and Legal System Research Institute. Legal and medical professionals, psychiatrists, different institutions of higher education and professional associations have made significant contributions through the opinions they have to the enactment of the law.  Representatives of the people selected from different sectors and associations have forwarded important views in discussion forums on the draft laws conducted in Addis Ababa and the regions. Moreover, the opinions of legal scholars and the laws and exigencies of foreign countries have been consulted to enrich the content of the Criminal Code.      It is hoped that the new Code will ensure respect for order, peace and security of the state and its peoples as well as respect for the rights and freedoms of its citizens and inhabitants. The Code is also expected to accelerate the economic progress of the State, strengthen   a steady order of free market and above all contribute towards the promotion of a fair judicial system in the country.

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