Safety manual for public servants Against poignant prosecutions|Yohannes Woldegebriel in response to የወንጀል ህግ አንቀጽ 23

In response to my previous post titled የወንጀል ህግ አንቀጽ 23 -የዐቃቤ ህግ የወንጀል ተጠያቂነት (ምርጥ የሰበር ውሳኔ) Yohannes Woldegebriel who was the applicant in the cassation decision sent me an email comment and the following article to be posted on this blog.

What follows is the full content of his comment and an article he requested to be posted.

Yohannes Woldegebriel via 
to me

 Name: Yohannes Woldegebriel



Comment: Dear Sir, 
I have recently come across cassation court decision that has been deliberately withheld, for good or bad reason, unpublished in its official publication book. By the way the Federal Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission also never published in its official publication of cases it has been pursuing as if it was not responsible for my 5 years long marathon trial and vengeful prosecution.
While I am happy that you published my case but I sincerely believe that although the court decision help to resolve the case, I would argue that it contributed little in the development of the jurisprudence of the constituent element of a crime as you tried to imply in your posting. I would rather advice you to publish in your website the attached article that I prepared while I was behind bar. In preparing this article I was and still am convinced that in the kind of cases I have passed through it is wasteful to present evidences, cite legal provisions, make arguments, and wait for the judge ruling. As a pragmatic lawyer that has tested the grim reality of the judiciary of the regime, I want to provide fellow public servants with the attached “legal advices” attached next to my cassation court decision case.
I hope you will find it interesting to you and your readers!

Safety manual for public servants Against poignant prosecutions

(By Yohannes Woldegebriel)

One may try to understand the set of principles that guides all organs of our criminal justice administration to enforce the rule of law and ethics in public service from official reports, refined researches mainly focusing on theoretical legal analysis of few selected cases or lectures by “distinguished” officials of the respective bodies. The true nature of our criminal justice administration of alleged breaches of law or ethics by indicted public servants is, however, manifestly noticed in prisons. Extravagant meetings, conferences or occasional progress reports and media dramas help only to disguise their inherent ugly face.

Over the past few years, there has been much talk on justice reform, court and prosecution offices business process re-engineering (BPR), trial by video conferencing, providing case information through computer touch screen, prosecution information system (PIS), promoting ethics in justice sector and whatnot. Nevertheless, the condition and quality of justice provided by our courts and prosecution offices has remained steadily deteriorated.

What is more our officials in the justice sector always cry that the sector suffers from lack of predictability. Predictability is however, the hallmark of our criminal justice administration not in the proper sense a lawyer understand the word but in the opposite. Again, our prisons offer inexhaustible data to disprove fictions from realities.

If you are a self-respecting and motivated public servant honestly serving your people by enforcing nothing but the law, to protect public and government interests, you should be almost certainly sure to fall one day, under the trap of a network of unscrupulous government officials, supposedly empowered to represent and defend public interests. This is because, what the law requires you to do invariably stand at loggerhead with or directly affect the personal or group interest of such officials.

You may rely on your sincerity, truth, the law and legal institutions, free conscience, personal confidence or even hope the protection of honest higher officials. But all these are not guarantees to save you from arrest, detention, fake charges, prolonged detention pointless court litigation, lose of earning, family break up, and last but not least media prejudices and public humiliations.

Here is a pattern of predictable ordeals experienced by a victimized public servant.

The stage play begins from a concocted allegations leveled by your accuser, normally a government official or an institution with some previous grudge, who often launch the attack from nothing or by creating a mountain out of mole. Any person considering himself to be aggrieved by your official decision could become a complainant and valuable witness.

You will be taken in to police custody and locked up with no opportunity to explain your version of the case to any independent organ. If you happen to be a public figure, you will be prone to media prejudices and humiliations. Our infant media, which takes the statement of your case. As a result, you will be saddled with the long and formidable challenge of removing prejudices first before obtaining fair hearing to disprove the allegations.

Your burden to show your innocence will be even more difficult if you were an actor in the machinery of justice such as courts or public prosecution offices and has been carrying out your tasks sticking to nothing but to law, professional ethics and the ideal of justice. Because, due to your acts, you earn innumerable foes than friends. You may question why more rivals? Whether we like it or not, this is the grim reality of our generation and our time. You cannot succeed or prevail abruptly merely because you compete fairly, work hard, comply with the rules of the game, conform to professional standards and ethical norms.

After you are taken to police custody, the mockery resume by “respecting” your constitutional right for court appearance within 48 hours along with a long list of fake allegations enough to persuade the judge to grant an order of remand in custody. Here, you must always be sure that the judge will generously and unquestioningly grant 14 days permit with possible renewal on each request providing enough opportunity to your accuser to organize his concocted allegations to look truthful and convincing in the eyes of all believing laity.

Having completed organizing the investigation report on fake allegations, next, you must be certain that you will be thrown to jail for 15 days pending the preparation and filing of creative charges to court. On the expiry of the 15th day, you will appear before the court, under escort, to receive worthless but honeycombed charges that are legal cloaks to conceal all wicked conspiracies and manoeuvrings calculated to lock you behind prison doors. With this, the famous judicial stage play begins.

As to your bail right, you must be ready to face the most boring and shameless rhetoric of your accuser, citing the law stated on the charge entailing the harshest punishment or even your alleged official capacity to pervert the judicial process of the fake allegation if you are bailed out and thus plead for the denial of bail. Here again, you should predict to swallow the unpalatable fact that an automatic ruling will be issued by the court in favour of your accuser regardless of the merit of the case.

Now that the fake allegation has matured in to “a legal case”, all actors in the famous judicial stage play will become comfortable enough to tender adjournments after adjournment to receive your submission and evidence for pre-trial hearings and ruling, regular prosecution and defense evidences, statements, arguments, addresses and whatnot. The judicial calendars are the best instrument of reprisal to your accuser and to hush out your voice.

In fact, to the delight of your accuser, courts issue prolonged adjournments to turn your case stale or unimportant to any interested follower and thus entirely frustrating your attempt to seek justice and vindicate your right. If you attempt to lodge administrative appeal to higher officials, your appeal will surely remain unnoticed or you will be guaranteed that the executive will not “interfere” on judicial businesses.

Fellow public servants!

You may come out a winner and justice and truth may prevail eventually. But you must be certain to serve a punishment before you are found guilty, convicted and sentenced. You must not hope to redress the moral and material damage you sustain before you are completely perished.

You might think that every body including judges and prosecutors would presume you innocent as required by the constitution. But you will find that this constitutional requirement is dishonored and betrayed by the very officials empowered to enforce it. Who else could honour the mandatory provision of the constitution that is being disparaged by judges and prosecutors? Not single evidence submitted to prove your absolute innocence will be considered until after the prosecutor and the judge comfortably remove the doubt or pretended doubt of your criminal involvement. No other official would consider your case until your suffering reach utter frustration either.

Finally it remains to me to suggest what code of conduct must guide a public servant to escape the deliberately inflicted trauma by actors of the organs of our criminal justice administration. For those who wish to stick to and uphold legality, loyalty, honesty, high civic responsibility, fairness, justice, and free conscience it is advisable to adhere to the following principles.

1. Shut up your mouth even if you face the temptation to cry out when public or government properties or interests are endangered.

2. Do not decide on any issue that comes to your official attention.

3. Do not exercise your official discretionary power even if your failure might cause loses on state and public interests.

4. Avoid any involvement in any major decision that protect public and government interests but threatens the interests of affluent individuals.

5. Keep low profile or less vocal to promote the protection of public or state interests.
6. Do not argue firmly on cases that involve affluent persons.

የወንጀል ህግ አንቀጽ 23 -የዐቃቤ ህግ የወንጀል ተጠያቂነት (ምርጥ የሰበር ውሳኔ)

የሰበር መ/ቁ 40687[1]

ሀምሌ 19 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም


ዳኞች፡ ሐጎስ ወልዱ

                  ሂሩት መለሰ

                  ብርሀኑ አመነው

                  አልማው ወሌ

                  ዓሊ መሐመድ

አመልካች፡ አቶ ዮሐንስ ወልደገብኤል – አልቀረቡም

ተጠሪ፡ የፌዴራል የሥነ ምግባርና የፀረሙስና ኮሚሽን – አልቀረቡም

                መዝገቡን መርምረን የሚከተለውን ፍርድ ሰጥተናል፡፡

                ጉዳዩ የቀረበው አመልካች የፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት በመዝገብ ቁጥር 42486 መስከረም 29 ቀን 2000 ዓ.ም የሰጠው የጥፋተኝነት ውሣኔና የፌዴራል ጠቅላይ ፍርድ ቤት የወንጀል ይግባኝ ችሎት በመዝገብ ቁጥር 33771 ሰኔ 27 ቀን 2001 ዓ.ም የከፍተኛውን ፍርድ ቤት የጥፋተኝነትና የቅጣት ውሣኔ በማፅናት የሰጠው ውሣኔ መሠረታዊ የህግ ስህተት ያለበት ስለሆነ በሰበር ታይቶ እንዲታረምልኝ በማለት የሰበር አቤቱታ ስላቀረቡ ነው፡፡

ክርክሩ በመጀመሪያ የታየው በፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት ነው፡፡ በፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት ተጠሪ ከሳሽ አመልካች ተከሳሽ በመሆን ተከራክረዋል፡፡ የሥር ፍርድ ቤት ተጠሪ ክሱን አሻሽሎ እንዲያቀርብ በሰጠው ትዕዛዝ መሠረት በአመልካችና በሥር ፍርድ ቤት ሁለተኛ ተከሳሽ በነበረው አቶ ወርቁ በረደድ ላይ ጥር 16 ቀን 1998 ዓ.ም ባቀረበው የወንጀል ክስ አመልካችን ሁለት የወንጀል ክስ አቅርቦባቸው የነበረ መሆኑን መዝገቡ ያሣያል፡፡ ተጠሪ አመልካችና በሥር ፍርድ ቤት ሁለተኛ ተከሳሽ የነበሩት አቶ ወርቁ በረደድ በአዋጅ ቁጥር 214/74 አንቀፅ 23 ንዑስ አንቀፅ 1(ሀ)(ለ) እና 2 የተመለከተውን በመተላለፍ ከፍትህ ሚኒስትር ከተሰጣቸው ውክልና ውጭ በኤግዚቢትነት የተያዘው እና በማስረጃነት ለፍርድ ቤቱ መቅረብ የሚገባውን ወርቅ እንዲሰጥ አስተያየት በመስጠት ወርቁ ከተሸጠ በኋላ በኤግዚቢትነት ያለ አስመስለው በማስረጃ ዝርዝር በመጥቀስ በስልጣን አላግባብ የመገልገል ወንጀል ፈፅመዋል በማለት ያቀረበውን ሁለተኛ የወንጀል ክስ የተጠሪ የሰውና የፅሑፍ ማስረጃዎች እንደ ክሱ አቀራረብ ያላስረዱባቸው መሆኑን በመግለፅ የከፍተኛው ፍርድ ቤት በወንጀለኛ መቅጫ ሥነ ሥርዓት ሕግ ቁጥር 141 መሠረት በነፃ እንዲሰናበቱ ውሣኔ የሰጠበት በመሆኑ በሰበር የመከራከሪያ ጭብጥ ሆኖ አልተያዘም፡፡ Continue reading የወንጀል ህግ አንቀጽ 23 -የዐቃቤ ህግ የወንጀል ተጠያቂነት (ምርጥ የሰበር ውሳኔ)

የእምነት ቃል —የሰበር ችሎት የህግ ትርጉም

በወንጀል ተጠርጣሪ ግለሰብ በምርመራ ሂደት ወይም ደግሞ ተከሳሽ በክሱ ሂደት የራሱን አጥፊነት በመቀበል የሚሰጠው ቃል

አንድ ተጠርጣሪ ወይም ተከሳሽ በምርመራ ሂደትም ሆነ ክስ ከቀረበበት በኃላ ክሱን ለሚሰማው ፍርድ ቤት የሚሰጠው የእምነት ቃል በሕግ ተቀባይነት ካላቸው የማስረጃ ዓይነቶች ውስጥ የሚካተት መሆኑ በወንጀለኛ መቅጫ ሕግ ስነ ስርዓት ሕግ ቁጥር 27፣ 35 እና 134 ድንጋጌዎች ተመልክቷል፡፡ ተጠርጣሪው ወይም ተከሳሹ የዚህ ዓይነቱን የእምነት ቃል የሚሰጠው የራሱን አጥፊነት አምኖ በመቀበል እንደሆነ የሚገመት በመሆኑ ሌሎች ተጠርጣሪዎች፣ ተከሳሾች ወይም ማናቸውም ሌላ ሰው በወንጀሉ አደራረግ ውስጥ ተሳትፎ የነበራቸው ስለመሆኑ ወይም ስላለመሆኑ በእምነት ቃሉ ውስጥ የሚገልጻቸው ፍሬ ነገሮች ምናልባት ለቀጣይ ምርመራ ፍንጭ ሊሰጡ ይችሉ ይሆናል ከሚባል በቀር በማናቸውም ሰው ላይ አሉታዊም ሆነ አዎንታዊ ሕጋዊ ውጤት ሊያስከትሉ የሚችሉ ተደርገው ሊወሰዱ የሚችሉበት የሕግ አግባብ የለም፡፡

በሌላ አነጋገር አንድ ተጠርጣሪ ወይም ተከሳሽ በምርመራ ሂደትም ሆነ ክሱን ለሚሰማው ፍርድ ቤት የሚሰጠው የእምነት ቃል ውጤት በራሱ በቃል ሰጪው ላይ ተወስኖ የሚቀር ከመሆኑ ውጪ ወደሌሎች ተጠርጣሪዎች ወይም ተከሳሾች ሊተላለፍ የሚችል አለመሆኑን ከላይ ከተጠቀሱት ድንጋጌዎች አነጋገር እና ይዘት መገንዘብ የሚቻል ከመሆኑም በላይ ወንጀሉን የፈጸሙት በጋራ ወይም በመተባበር መሆኑን በማመን አንደኛው ተከሳሽ የሚሰጠው የእምነት ቃል ወንጀሉን አልፈጸምኩም በማለት ክዶ በሚከራከረው ሌላኛው ተከሳሽ ላይ ሕጋዊ ውጤት ሊያስከትል የማይችል ስለመሆኑ የፌዴራል ጠቅላይ ፍርድ ቤት ሰበር ችሎት በመዝገብ ቁጥር 94450 በ25/07/2006 ዓ.ም. የሰጠው አስገዳጅ የሕግ ትርጉም በተያዘው ጉዳይ ላይ ተፈጻሚነት ያለው መሆኑን ተገንዝበናል፡፡

ሰ/መ/ቁ. 96310 ቅጽ 17፣[1] ወ/መ/ስ/ስ/ህ/ቁ. 27፣35 እና 134

በወንጀል ጉዳይ በወ/መ/ሕ/ሥ/ሥ/ቁ. 134(1) እንደተደነገገው ተከሣሹ የተከሰበበትን የወንጀል ክስ ይዘት በሚገባ ተረድቶ አድራጐቱን እንደቀረበበት የወንጀል ክስ ዝርዝር መፈፀሙን አምኖ የእምነት ቃል በሰጠ ጊዜ ይህ የእምነት ቃል ለቀረበበት የወንጀል ክስ ማስረጃ ሆኖ በዚሁ ማስረጃ መሠረት የጥፋተኝነት ውሣኔ መስጠት የሚቻልበት ሥርዓት ተደንግጓል፡፡ ይሁን እንጂ በዚህ አኳኋን ተከሣሹ የሚሰጠው የእምነት ቃል በማስረጃነቱ ተይዞ የሚሰጠው የጥፋተኛነት ውሣኔ ውሣኔውን በሰጠው ፍ/ቤቱ ብቻ ተወስኖ የሚቀር አይደለም፡፡ በዚህ ውሣኔ ቅሬታ የተሰማው ወገን በህገ-መንግስቱም አንቀጽ 20(6) ሆነ በዝርዝር በወ/መ/ሕ/ሥ/ሥ/ሕጉ መሠረት ከታች ወደ ላይ በይግባኝ የመከራከር መብቱን ለማስጠበቅ የይግባኝ አቤቱታ የሚያቀርብበት ሥርዓት ተዘርግቷል፡፡

በዚህ መሠረት በይግባኝ በሚቀርበው መከራከሪያ ነጥብነቱ እንደ ወ/መ/ሕ/ሥ/ሥ/ቁ. 134(1) ድንጋጌ አነጋገር የወንጀሉን አድራጐት ለመፈፀሙ የእምነት ቃል አልሰጠሁም፤ ነገር ግን እንዳመንኩ ተደርጎ ጥፋተኛ ነህ ተብያለሁ በማለት ቅሬታ የቀረበ እንደሆነ ተከሳሹ ተላልፎታል በሚል የተጠቀሠበት ድንጋጌ ሥር የተቋቋመውን የወንጀል ዝርዝር ተከሣሹ በአፈፃፀሙ ረገድ የሰጠውን ዝርዝር የአፈፃፀም ሁኔታ በማገናዘብ በእርግጥም እንደ ክሱ የወንጀሉን አድራጐት ፈጽሞታል ወይስ አልፈፀመውም የሚለውን ለመለየት ተከሣሹ ሰጠ የተባለው ዝርዝር የእምነት ቃል በመዝገቡ ላይ ሠፍሮ ካልተገኘ በቀር የበላይ ፍ/ቤቶች ተገቢውን ዳኝነት ለመስጠት አያስችላቸውም፡፡

ሰ/መ/ቁ 77842 ቅጽ 14፣[2] ወ/መ/ስ/ስ/ህ/ቁ. 134/2/

በወንጀል የተከሰሰ ሰው ጥፋተኛ ተብሎ የሚቀጣው በወ/መ/ሥ/ሥ/ሕግ ቁጥር 134(1) መሠረት በሰጠው የእምነት ቃል መሰረት ከሆነ ፍርድ ቤቶች ተከሳሹ ከሰጠው የእምነት ቃል ውስጥ ተከሳሹን የሚጠቅመውን ክፍል በመተው፤ በዕምነት ቃሉ ያላስመዘገበውን ፍሬ ነገር መሰረት በማድረግ ቅጣት ሊያከብዱ አይገባም፡፡

ሰ/መ/ቁ 96954 ቅጽ 16[3]

[1] አመልካች አቶ ጉዲና ለማ ገዛኸኝ እና ተጠሪ የደቡብ ብ/ብ/ሕ/ክ/መንግስት የስ/ፀ/ሙስና ኮሚሽን ዐ/ሕግ ህዳር 26 ቀን 2007 ዓ.ም.

[2] አመልካች አቶ ሳሚ ሁሴን እና ተጠሪ የፌደራል ዐቃቤ ህግ ታህሣስ 03 ቀን 2005 ዓ.ም.

[3] አመልካች ዘፈሩ ወልደ ትንሣኤ አብርሃ እና ተጠሪ የፌዴራል ዐቃቤ ህግ ሚያዚያ 24 ቀን 2006 ዓ.ም.

Revised Federal Supreme Court Sentencing Guideline No.2-2013

Revised Federal Supereme Court Sentencing Guideline No.2-2013Revised Federal Supreme Court Sentencing Guideline No.2-2013

የተሻሻለዉ የወንጀል ቅጣት አወሳሰን መመሪያ ቁጥር 2/2006

The Federal Supreme Court has released the amended Guideline.

Click the link below to download.


you could be a criminal without commiting a crime…


Is it possible that you could be liable to a criminal punishment without committing any crime and at the same time your conviction being considered as lawful i.e. according to law? Sometimes such type of cases may happen when there is a miscarriage of justice and abuse of power. When law enforcement officials and judges use their official power to attack an innocent person, at least they know it they are deliberately violating the law. But the question I raised above is totally different from these types of instances.

To make it clear here is the answer for the question. According to one provision of unusual and odd Ethiopian law, anyone could be convicted of a crime even though he has not committed a crime. This may be surprising, but it is true.

This law which makes a person a criminal in the absence of a crime and commission of a crime is ARTICLE 20 SUB ARTICLE 6 of Forest Development, Conservation and Utilization Proclamation No.542/2007.
In order to understand and relate the contents of this provision to other provisions, you should read the preceding five sub articles of the provision.

Article 20 of Forest Development, Conservation and Utilization Proclamation No.542/2007 titled ‘Penalty’ provides for the special criminal violations and penalties against the proclamation.
Here are the criminal violations listed under sub articles 1 up to 5 of article 20.

Article 20. Penalty

Unless otherwise the offence committed is punishable with greater penalty by the criminal law,
1/ Except pursuant to this proclamation and directives issued here in under, cuts trees or removes, processes or uses in any way forest products from a state forest shall be punishable with not less than 1 year and not exceeding 5 years imprisonment and with tine Birr 10,000.

2/ Destroy, damages or falsify forest boundary marks shall be punishable with not less than 1 year and not exceeding 5 years rigorous imprisonment;

3/ Causes damages to a forest by setting fire or in any other manner shall be punishable with not less than 10′ years and not exceeding 15 years rigorous imprisonment;

4/ Settles or expands farmland in a forest area without permit or undertakes the construction of any infrastructure in a forestland without having the necessary permit shall be punishable with not less than 2 years imprisonment and with fine Birr 20000;

5/ Provides assistance in any form to those who illegally cut forest trees or transport forest products to hide or take away the forest products shall be punishable with 5 years imprisonment and with fine Birr 5000;

So these are the crimes specifically listed by the proclamation. But it does not stop here.  As you can see, only five specific criminal violations is not sufficient compared to the extent of  the forests to preserved. Hence sub article 6 was added and it reads:

6/ Commits a fault that are not mentioned from Sub-Article (1) to (5) here in above and for which punishment is not imposed shall be punishable with not less than 6 months and not exceeding 5 years imprisonment and with fine Birr 30,000″

According to this provision, any one could be punished not less than 6 months and not exceeding 5 years imprisonment and fine Birr 30, 000 without violating any provision of law. “A fault not mentioned from Sub-Article (1) to (5)” does not specify any commission or omission of an act.

I don’t think it is necessary to make an analysis and argument to establish that this law is a clear violation of the cardinal principles of criminal law and fundamental provisions of F.D.R.E. Constitution.  Just in case, the principle of legality is found in article 2 of the criminal code.

Article 2.- Principle of Legality.
(1) Criminal law specifies the various crimes and the penalties and measures applicable to criminals.
(2) The Court may not treat as a crime and punish any act or omission which is not prohibited by law. The Court may not impose penalties or measures other than those prescribed by law.
(3) The Court may not create crimes by analogy.

“Criminal law specifies the various crimes…” i.e. the acts considered by law as violations entailing criminal liability.

An act is defined in article 23 of the code.

Article 23.- Crimes.
(1) A crime is an act which is prohibited and made punishable by law.
In this Code, an act consists of the, commission of what is prohibited or the omission of what is prescribed by law.

When you relate article 20 sub 6 of Forest Development, Conservation and Utilization Proclamation No.542/2007, you don’t find any specific act the  “commission of what is prohibited or the omission of what is prescribed by law”