Status and Application of Juvenile Related International Frameworks in Ethiopia

The applicability of international frameworks, in general, depends initially on the status a given country gives to international instruments in its legal system. Its commitment begins with the clear statement it makes regarding the status and application of those ratified instruments. This is why usually States determine in their domestic legislations status related issues such as incorporation, hierarchy, implementation mechanisms, implementing institutions, etc of international instruments. This topic briefly discusses the status and applicability of juvenile justice related international instruments, particularly the ACRWC and the CRC, in Ethiopia.

International law does not recognize a specific mode of incorporation of international instruments leaving the room for States to choose their own way of incorporation. Because of this, modes of incorporation differs from one country to the other traditionally falling either in monism (mostly followed by civil law countries), where international law and domestic law are part of the same legal order by virtue of declaration made to that effect usually in the Constitution, and dualism (followed by common law countries), where international law is separate and not directly applicable in the domestic order unless incorporating/enabling legislation is passed to that effect.

Other modes of incorporation are also recognized by other scholars such as Cassese. One is, Automatic Standing Incorporation, whereby states declaring present or future international rules to apply without the need to pass statutes. This mode of incorporation resembles with the monist mode. The second, Legislative ad hoc incorporation requires the legislator to pass specific enabling statute regarding the treaty. The statute, commonly known as ratifying legislation usually include three or four provisions presenting ‘short title’, ‘ratification clause’, ‘scope of application’, and ‘effective date. The third mode of incorporation is called statutory ad hoc incorporation, which requires the legislature to convert every detail of treaty provisions in to national legislation.

The mode of incorporation in Ethiopia appears confusing seemingly utilizing all above discussed modes. Article 9(4) of the FDRE Constitution recognizes the monist mode or automatic standing incorporation mode by declaring every ratified treaty to form ‘an integral part of the law of the land’. Therefore, the Constitution enabled international treaties to apply directly as part of the laws of the land up on ratification.

The dualist or legislative ad hoc, or statutory ad hoc modes of incorporation also seem to exist in Ethiopia. The Federal Negarit Gazeta Establishment Proclamation (the Proclamation) requires publication of every law either duly enacted domestically or ratified to have legal effect. Based on this the practice developed incorporation of treaties in the form of statutory ad hoc mode

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