The ICC and Ethiopia - Still Missing from The Statute

Human rights are to be respected and protected by States through all appropriate measures, so goes the rhetoric.  States must also make solutions available at domestic level to any citizen who claims his/her rights were violated. Individual victims of human rights violation also have the right to seek justice from regional or international institutions. In some countries such violations are committed grossly & systematically that the normal procedures through domestic justice appear to be not enough to address them.


Mostly, such systematic & gross violations of human rights are committed at state level for perceived end causes of, say, crushing opposition, sustaining absolute power and maintaining territorial integrity that involves cross border wars, although less common nowadays. The systematic genocide in Chile during the regime of Augusto Pinochet, in Uganda during the Id Amine regime, in South Africa during the Apartheid regime, and in Ethiopia during the Dergue regime were all orchestrated and executed at state levels.


One of the most significant developments made in the direction of dealing with mass grave human rights violations & fighting impunity was the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) pursuant to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which was adopted at a conference in Rome, on 17 July 1998. The Statute, entered in to force on 1 July 2002, resulted in the formation of the Court which is based in The Hague, Netherlands. Today a total of 121 countries are states parties to the Rome Statute. Out of them 33 are African states.

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Copyright Protection in Ethiopia Shining Law, Zero Effect

The idea of enacting a copyright law was first developed to encourage creativity and further grew on that sole purpose and protecting companies’ and individuals’ right to ownership.  Such protections of copyright is expressed by giving the author or the owner of copyrightable works the exclusive right of reproduction, sale, rent, transfer, and other communication of the work to the public.

According to David Bainbridge, a well-known writer on Intellectual Property, copyright means an intangible, incorporeal property right granted by the law to the owner of the specified types of literary and artistic works such as films and sound recordings. Furthermore, copyright protection subsists in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression. In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, and system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery.

One important feature of copyright law is that it does not protect ideas, rather protects the expression of an idea.

However, protecting the interest of the owner of the copyrightable work is not the only purpose of the copyright law. Copyright law has to also take in to account the interest of the society at large.

The protection given by the law to the owner of the copyright, in recognition of the time and effort taken to create the work, ensures a fair balance between the needs of the copyright user and the rights of the copyright owner. People need to be able to copy materials produced by others, but if there were no limits in place, the owners of the copyright material would not be remunerated for their work, and there would be no incentive to create further work.

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Ethiopia: A self-defeating Charities and Societies Proclamation Hurting All

One of the many things globalization is credited for is that it has “considerably weakened traditional governance processes,” according to Professor Charnovitz Steve, a well-known writer on non-state actors in governance. “Increasing global economic integration has reduced the power of national governments while granting other economic and political actors access to the world stage,” Charbovitz wrote.

In Ethiopia the emergence of rigorous and formal Non-Governmental Organizations/Civil Society Organizations (NGOs/CSOs) dates back to barely two decades ago, although a few NGOs were already there during the imperial era, which were established according to the 1960 Civil Code. But most of the voluntary initiatives were run only by members of the royal family and a few foreign individuals.  The trend was not so much different during the subsequent Derg regime. According to Jeffrey Clarke, who wrote about Ethiopia’s civil society organization activities in late 1990s, there were two groupings of NGOs during the Derg regime: international relief agencies which were officially accepted by the regime and the humanitarian sections of armed opposition groups operating beyond its control.


The two decades from 1991 to 2009 are known as a period when a remarkable progress in the numbers and activities of NGOs/CSOs was seen in the history of the country. A relatively enabling atmosphere and significant contributions by these NGOs/CSOs (the latter renamed as Charities and Societies Organization, ChSOs) to various programs that the country was desperately embarked on gave boost to the birth of hundreds of NOGs and ChSOs.

Because of that, and enabling political changes the country was experiencing, foreign donor organizations such as USAID, Global Fund, CDC, Clinton Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation have relentlessly bankrolled the entire programs to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB, vaccination and institutional capacity building programs that were undertaken by as many NGOs/ChSOs in Ethiopia over the past two decades.

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