Some Legal Issues Concerning the ICC-AU ‘Crisis’: A Reply to Abreha Z Mesele

Abreha Z. Mesele has written (ICC and African Union: Selective Justice?) an informative piece on the recently inflamed ICC-African Union altercation; or rather African Union’s ringing condemnations of the practice of ICC, calling it big-powers’ instrument of ‘pummelling the weak ones’.  In this piece I would like to offer some of my views on the issue, by way of a response to Abreha’s paper. Abreha has accomplished the task of laying out the essential introductory ground-work, and so I will refrain from any redundancy and delve straight into discussing the issues that I think are overlooked or misrepresented in the general discussion on the topic and in Abreha’s piece specifically.

I would like to discuss three important (loosely interrelated) points. First, I dispel the suggestion that the ICC is primarily funded by powerful states (read: the US) and to that extent serves as an instrument of their desires. Second, I will argue that powerful states would still be able to shield themselves from the ICC by using the powers of the Security Council, even if the Statute of the ICC had not bestowed upon the Security Council powers to defer cases from consideration by the ICC. Thirdly, I present two possible interpretations to resolve the apparent contradiction between article 27 (waiver of immunity) and article 98 (requirement of consent in waiving immunity) of the ICC Statute that Abreha pointed at. I will end my discussion with a rather pessimistic but practicable note (as opposed to the idealist but paralyzing suggestions we often hear) on the way forward regarding the ICC-AU ‘crisis’.

ICC Financing and Big-Power Instrumentality

Misperceptions about the financing of the ICC are one of the more important factors influencing attitudes toward the practice of the court. Contrary to widely held assumption (also subscribed to by Abreha), the ICC is not funded by ‘big/super powers’ (which is mainly a code word for ‘the US’), and to that extent the ICC is not an instrument at the disposal of the will of the US. The ICC is funded mainly by the regular contributions of all of its 122 member states, although one could say the bigger powers contribute more as their contribution follows what is called the ‘assessed contributions’ formula of the UN. The US in particular is not a party to the ICC Statute and therefore does not contribute to the court’s budget. There is a possibility for non-members to contribute to the funding of the ICC voluntarily, but the United States has never volunteered. In fact, a law in the United States expressly prohibits the government from making contributions to the ICC. The other circumstance the US would be said to cover the costs of the court is when the Security Council makes a referral to the ICC. In such cases, the UN itself covers the costs of the cases and therefore the US would indirectly bear a portion of the costs as a member of the UN. But such costs are incurred from the regular budget of the United Nations to which the United States and all other nations contribute in lump sum, and therefore no state wields particular dominance over the specific programmes that such general contributions accomplish. All member states of the ICC, including the big Western and other states, contribute to its meagre budget of around 100 million Euros a year. The biggest financial contributor to the ICC is in fact Japan, contributing not more than 20 per cent of the court’s annual budget; I guess that says it all about the relative insignificance of a financing-based critique of ‘big-power instrumentality’ against the ICC.

Big-Powers and the ICC: the Powers of the Security Council

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Locating Culture in the Best Interest of the Child

The best interest principle is one of the umbrella principles embodied under the CRC which assures the overall development of children to their fullest potential in order to maximize their capacity and become adulthoodThough this principle is a paramount important for the rights of the child, its vagueness impeded its implementation stage due to different wavering concept it has. And the principle of the best interests of the child has been the subject of extensive consideration in academic, operational and other circles.

Member States, parents, communities or any other organs or individuals, who are in charge and care of children and obliged under the CRC, use this legal loophole, which is left undetermined for implementation purposes, interpret it in different ways. As a result of this, the best interest principle left unrealized due to its vagueness, culture, religion and other considerations taken in the implementation of the rights of children. These factors may not always bring about the positive impetus to children in their overall development as was intended by the UN CRC but rather in most of the cases, these factors are seen contravening the spirit and philosophy of the CRC. Furthermore, the roles of parents given under the CRC towards their minor children are determined by parents’ perspectives, culture and religious understandings which many times found contravening the interest of children.

In addition to the above factors, the problems of assessment on the effects of the actions taken towards children are thorny under human understandings. So, obligations towards states, parents or other individuals or institutions imposed by CRC are complicated and difficult to implement because whether the actions taken are best or not to children are unknown at least time wise.

In my discussion, I will address the interpretation of best interest principle in different culture specific actions taken towards children concerning problems of assessment, compatibility of culture and spirit and philosophy of the CRC and the possible legal lacunae created under article 3(1) and article 41 of the CRC.


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What is Trafficking in Persons?

The issue of trafficking in persons from and within Ethiopia has become a critical issue of concern for the country. The level of concern is clearly reflected in the increased media coverage of the situation of victims of trafficking as well as the measures taken by the government to address the problem through legislative, policy and programmatic mechanisms. While the current attention to the issue is to be commended, there also appears to be some level of confusion as to what trafficking in persons is. The current brief article is an attempt to help clarify the problem.


The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Person, Especially Women and Children that supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000), known as the Palermo Protocol, defines trafficking in human beings as: ‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation’. Where children are concerned, the Protocol stipulates that ‘recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered ‘trafficking in persons’ even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in the definition.’ Trafficking in persons consists of three essential components: 1st) Recruitment – by force or deception; 2nd) Transportation – within a country or across borders, legally or illegally; and, 3rd) Exploitation – traffickers financially benefit through the use or sale of the victim.

The complex phenomenon of trafficking is often confused with other forms of people movement, such as irregular migration and smuggling. As a result, people who have been trafficked are treated as criminals rather than victims. Migration is the movement of people from one place to another within a country, or from one country to another prompted by the need for work, a better life, the fear of persecution, work, the horrors of war or disaster, or just because they want to live somewhere else.

A study conducted by IOM and other institutions indicated that 76.7% of all Ethiopian migrant workers living in the Middle Eastern countries engaged in different sectors of employment are victims of trafficking. Other studies have indicated that 7.5% of all Ethiopian migrants who have left their country for employment and other purposes were between the ages of 13 – 17 years at the time of their migration. The Study also showed that 87.1% of these migrants were trafficked.The Ethiopian Embassy in South Africa estimated that approximately 45,000 to 50,000 Ethiopians live in South Africa. It is estimated that 95% or more of these Ethiopian arrivals enter South Africa through irregular means.

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International Criminal Court and African Union: Selective Justice?

Before I embarked upon the merit of the issue, some preliminary issues should be discussed to see whether International Criminal Court (hereinafter called ICC) is targeting Africans or not. In order to arrive at a fair and balanced conclusion, there is a need to discuss how the ICC exercise jurisdiction over the most heinous crimes by taking ICC Statute (Rome Statute). Here, issues of membership, complementarity, referral and treaty obligations should first be addressed in order to ascertain on the claim that ICC is selective and targeting Africans. Most, if not all, cases filed in the ICC in the year 2008 were cases from African soil; the issues whether it was deliberate and targetfull is going to be determined case by case and issue by issue bases later on.

International law should not be wielded as the big stick by strong nations used to pummel the weak ones. We are against selective justice. If we have to be fair, the Georgian president, who is being accused byRussia of genocide, must face similar justice.                                                  

The then AU Chairperson, Jean Ping


1.   Antecedents of Exclusion and Selectivity of International Criminal Law Enforcement

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ሳንሱር እና ሕግ፡ ከትናንት እስከዛሬ

የሰው ልጅ ሐሳቡን ለሌላው መግለጽ መጀመሩ ሰዎች የጋራ ባሕርያትን ይዘው ወደ አዲስ ስልጣኔ፤ ወደ አዲስ ሕይወት እንዲወጣ አድርጎታል፡፡ ነገር ግን የዚህ ትስስር ድንበር የለሽ መሆን ጉዳት አለው በማለት፤ በተለያዩ ወቅቶች በተለያዩ ምክንያቶች መረጃን የመለዋወጡ ሂደት ገደብ እንዲኖረው ይደረጋል፡፡ ገደብ እንዲደረግ የሚያስገድዱት ዋነኛ ምክንያቶች ሦስቱን ዋነኛ ተቋማት መጠበቅ በሚል ሐሳብ ስር ይጠቃለል፡፡ 

እነዚህም ተቋማት ቤተሰብ፣ ቤተ እምነት እና ቤተ መንግሥት ናቸው፡፡ ቤተሰብን መጠበቅ ስንል ቤተሰብ የኅብረተሰብ መሠረት በመሆኑ ቤተሰብን እና ስርዓቱን የሚጎዱ ነገሮች (Obscene) በአደባባይ እንዳይኖሩ ማድረግ ማለታችን ነው፡፡ ቤተ እምነትን የሚያጎድፉ ነገሮችም (Blasphemous) እንዲሁ:: እንዲሁም በሦስተኝነት በሕግ የተዘረጋውን ስርዓት ለመጠበቅ ሲባል ሲሆን  ይሄም የግደባ ሂደት ሳንሱር (Censorship) ይባላል፡፡


የሕግ ማዕቀፉ እና ልምዱ ምን ይላል?


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የበጎ አድራጎት ድርጅቶችና ማህበራትን ፈቃድ ከማደስ ጋር የተያያዙ አንዳንድ ጉዳዮች

የበጎ አድራጎት ድርጅቶችና ማህበራት አዋጅ ከበጎ አድራጎት ኮሚቴ በቀር ለሁሉም የበጎ አድራጎት ድርጅቶችና ማህበራት ሦስት የህልውና ደረጃዎችን ያስቀምጣል፡፡ እነዚህም ምስረታ፣ ምዝገባ እና ፈቃድ ናቸው፡፡ ምስረታ የምንለው የበጎ አድራጎት ድርጅቱን ወይም ማህበሩን ለመፍጠር አስፈላጊ የሚሆኑበት የመጀመሪያ ደረጃ ነው፡፡ የዚህ ደረጃ ዋነኛ መለያው ሶስት ወር ገደማ በሚሆነው በዚህ ጊዜ ውስጥ ድርጅቱ ወይም ማህበሩ ሕጋዊ ሰውነት የሌለውና በሕግ ፊት ውጤት ያላቸውን ተግባራት ለማከናወን ያለው ብቃትም ውሱን መሆኑ ነው፡፡ በተለይም በድርጅቱ ወይም በማህበሩ ስም ገንዘብ የማሰባሰብ ብቃቱ ውሱን ወይም በሕግ የተገደበ ይሆናል፡፡ ይህ የመጀመሪያ ደረጃ ድርጅቱ ወይም ማህበሩ ሲመዘገብ ወይም ባለመመዝገቡ ምክንያት ህልውናውን ሲያጣ የሚጠናቀቅ ይሆናል፡፡

የበጎ አድራጎት ድርጅቶችና ማህበራት ህልውና ቀጣዩ ደረጃ ምዝገባ ሲሆን ድርጅቱ ወይም ማህበሩ በህግ ፊት እውቅና የሚያገኝበት በመሆኑ ከሶስቱ ደረጃዎች ውስጥ ወሳኝ ተደርጎ ሊወሰድ ይችላል፡፡ አንድ ድርጅት ወይም ማህበር በተመዘገበ ጊዜ ሕጋዊ ሰውነት አግኝቶ በሕግ ፊት ውጤት ያላቸውን ተግባራት ለማከናወን ብቁ ይሆናል፡፡ በሌላ አባባል አንድ በመመስረት ላይ የነበረ ድርጅት ወይም ማህበር ሲመዘገብ ውል መዋዋልን የመሰሉ የሕግ ትርጉም ያላቸውን ተግባራት ማከናወን ይችላል፡፡ ለአንድ የበጎ አድራጎት ድርጅት ወይም ማህበር ይህ ማለት ሰራተኞችን በመቅጠር እና ክንውኖችን በመተግበር የተቋቋመበትን ዓላማ ለማስፈፀም የሚያስችል ብቃት በሕግ ፊት ያስገኝለታል ማለት ነው፡፡ የበጎ አድራጎት ድርጅቱ ወይም ማህበሩ በሕግ በተቀመጡ ምክንያቶች ካልፈረሰ በቀር ሕጋዊ ሰውነቱን ይዞ ላልተወሰነ ጊዜ ይቆያል፡፡

ይሁን እንጂ ምዝገባ እና ተያይዞ የሚመጣው ሕጋዊ ሰውነት ማግኘት የበጎ አድራጎት ደርጅቱ በሕግ ፊት ውጤት ያላቸውን ተግባራት ለማከናወን ያገኘውን ብቃት እውን ለማድረግ አያበቁትም፡፡ ለዚህ የግድ ፈቃድ ማግኘት አለበት፡፡ ፈቃድ መስጠት ማለት አንድ ደርጅት ወይም ማህበር ባስቀመጠው አካባቢ የተቋቋመበትን ዓላማ ለማስፈጸም ክነውኖችን ወይም ፕሮጀክቶቸን ለመተግበር የሚፈቅድለት ሰርትፍኬት የሚያገኝበት ሂደት ነው፡፡ አንድ ደርጅት ወይም ማህበር በሕግ የተቀመጡ መስፈርቶችን አሟልቶ በተቋቋመ ጊዜ ወዲያውኑ ፈቃድ የሚያገኝ ሲሆን ፈቃዱ በየጊዜው (በየሦስት ዓመት) መታደስ አለበት፡፡

ይህ አጭር ፅሁፍ በሁለት ተዛማጅ ጉዳዮች ላይ ያተኩራል፤ እነዚህም የበጎ አድራጎት ደርጅቶችና ማህበራት ፈቃድ ለማሳደስ ሊሟሉ የሚገባቸው ቅድመ-ሁኔታዎች እና እነዚህ ቅድመ-ሁኔታዎች በዘርፍ አስተዳዳሪዎች የፕሮጀክት ስምምነት ለመፈፀም ከሚጠየቁት መመዘኛዎችና ለጋሾች የገንዘብ ድጋፍ ለመስጠት ከሚያስቀምጧቸው ቅድመ-ሁኔታዎች ጋር ያላቸው ትስስር ናቸው፡፡

ፈቃድ ለማሳደስ ሊሟሉ የሚገባቸው ቅድመ-ሁኔታዎች

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Exploring Issues in the Renewal of Licenses for Charities and Societies

The Charities and Societies Proclamation refers to three stages in the coming into operation of charities and societies except charitable committees. These are: formation, registration and licensing. Formation refers to the early stage where the situations necessary for the coming into being of the charity or society as an entity are put into place. The most distinct feature of this stage is that the charity or society does not have legal personality during this stage, which usually takes a period of three months. As such, its capacity to engage in acts with legal consequences (juridical acts) is limited. Most notably, it is limited in its capacity to raise funds. This stage reaches its end either upon registration or when the charity or society ceases to exist for failure to apply for registration.

The next stage in the life of a charity or society is registration which may be considered the most important stage since the very existence of the organization commences with registration. Upon registration, the charity or society acquires legal personality thereby becoming a subject of rights and duties. In other words, the merely formed entity acquires the capacity to engage in acts that have legal consequences such as entering into contracts. For a charity or society this translates into the capacity to start working towards its objectives by engaging staff and implementing activities. Unless the charity is dissolved reasons stipulated by law, it maintains its legal personality for an indefinite period of time.

However, the act of registration and consequent acquisition of legal personality does not enable the charity or society to start realizing its capacity to engage in juridical acts. For that it requires a license. Licensing is the process through which the charity or society gets a certificate permitting it to operate in its identified area of operation and engage in activities/projects designed to achieve its establishment objectives. While the initial license is normally acquired upon fulfillment of legally stipulated conditions, the license certificate has to be renewed periodically.

The subject matter for the current short article is two-fold: the requirements for the renewal of licenses for charities and societies; and, the interplay between these conditions and the conditions set by sector administrators for the signing of project agreements and by donors for funding.

Requirements for Renewal of License

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በሰዎች መነገድ/ሕገወጥ የሰዎች ዝውውር ምንድነው?

በአገር ውስጥ እና በተለይም ወደ ሌሎች አገራት የሚካሄድ ሕገወጥ የሰዎች ዝውውር በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የላቀ ትኩረት እያገኘ መጥቷል፡፡ ይህም ትኩረት በቅርቡ ጉዳዩ እያገኘ ካለው ሰፊ የሚድያ ሽፋን ባሻገር ችግሩን ለመፍታት በተከታታይ በመንግስት እየተወሰዱ ያሉ የሕግ፣ የፖሊሲና የፕሮግራም እርምጃዎች ላይ ይንፀባረቃል፡፡ ለዚህ ጉዳይ የተሰጠው ትኩረት ይበል የሚያሰኝ ቢሆንም አልፎ አልፎ ሕገወጥ የሰዎች ዝውውር ምንነት ጋር በተያያዘ የተወሰነ ግራ መጋባት ይታያል፡፡ ይሕ አጭር ጽሁፍ ይህንን ክፍተት ለመሙላት ለሚደረው ጥረት አስተዋጽኦ ያደርጋል በሚል እምነት የተዘጋጀ ነው፡፡


የተ.መ.ድ. እ.ኤ.ኤ. በ2000 ዓ.ም. ያወጣውና የፓሌርሞ ስምምነት በመባል የሚታወቀው ስምምነት በሰዎች መነገድ ወይም ሕገ-ወጥ የሰዎች ዝውውር ለብዝበዛ ዓላማ ሰዎችን (በተለይም ሴቶችና ሕፃናትን) በኃይል፣ በዛቻ፣ በተንኮል፣ በማታለል፣ በመጥለፍ ወይም በተበዳይ ላይ ኃላፊነት ላለው ሰው ገንዘብ ወይም ሌላ ጥቅም በመስጠት መመልመል፣ ማጓጓዝ፣ ማስተላለፍ፣ መደበቅ ወይም መቀበል ማለት እንደሆነ ይገልፃል፡፡ ሕፃናትን በተመለከተ ለብዝበዛ ዓላማ እስከሆነ ድረስ ሕፃናቱን መመልመል፣ ማጓጓዝ፣ ማስተላለፍ፣ መደበቅ ወይም መቀበል በራሱ በሰዎች መነገድ ተደርጎ ይወሰዳል፡፡ በሴቶችና በልጆች መነገድን የሚከለክለው የኢትዮጵያ የወንጀል ሕግ አንቀጽ 597 እና 635 ላይም ይኸው ትርጉም ተሰጥቶታል፡፡ ከዚህ ትርጓሜ መረዳት እንደምንችለው በሰዎች መነገድ በዋነኛነት ሦስት ነገሮችን ያጠቃልላል፡፡ እነዚህም፡ - (1ኛ) በኃይል ወይም በማታለል መመልመል (ምልመላ)፣ (2ኛ) በአገር ውስጥ ወይም ወደ ሌላ አገር በህጋዊ ወይም ህገ-ወጥ መንገድ ማዘዋወር (ዝውውር)፣ እና (3ኛ) አዘዋዋሪዎች ተበዳዮችን የገንዘብ ጥቅም ማግኛ ማድረጋቸው (ብዝበዛ) ናቸው፡፡

በሰዎች መነገድ ከሌሎች የሰዎች ዝውውር ክስተቶች ጋር በተለይም ከኢ-መደበኛ የሰዎች ዝውውር እና ከሕገወጥ የድንበር ዝውውር ጋር የሚምታታበት ሁኔታ ይከሰታል፡፡ ይህም የሰዎች ንግድ ተጎጂዎች እንደ ወንጀለኛ የሚታዩበትን ሁኔታ ይፈጥራል፡፡ በአጠቃላይ ሰዎች በአገር ውስጥ ወይም ወደ ውጭ አገር ከቦታ ወደ ቦታ የሚያደርጉት እንቅስቃሴ ወይም ስደት ስራ ፍለጋ፣ ለተሻለ ህይወት፣ መሳደድን በመፍራት፣ ከጭቆና ወይም የተፈጥሮ አደጋ ለመሸሽ ብሎም የመኖሪያ ቦታን ለመቀየር ሲባል ሊካሄድ ይችላል፡፡ በአንፃሩ በሰዎች መነገድ ዓላማው ብዝበዛ ሲሆን ስደተኞች ለዚህ ሁኔታ ተጋላጭ ናቸው፡፡

ከሁለት ዓመታት በፊት በአለም አቀፉ የስደተኞች ድርጅት የተደረገው ጥናት እንደሚያመለክተው በመካከለኛው ምስራቅ አገራት ከሚገኙ ኢትዮጵያውያን መካከል 76.7 በመቶ የሚሆኑት የሕገወጥ የሰዎች ዝውውር ሰለባዎች ናቸው፡፡ በተለይም እድሜያቸው ከ18 አመት በታች ከሆኑት እና ወደተለያዩ የሰሜን አፍሪካና የመካከለኛው ምስራቅ አገራት ስራ ፍለጋና ሌሎች ምክንያቶች ከተጓዙት ኢትዮጵያውያን መካከል 7.5 በመቶ የሚሆኑት እድሜያቸው ከ13 እስከ 17 አመት መሆኑን እና ከነዚህም ውስጥ 87.1 በመቶ የሚሆኑት የሕገወጥ ዝውውር ሰለባዎች እንደነበሩ ሌሎች ጥናቶች አመልክተዋል፡፡ በደቡብ አፍሪካ የኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲ መረጃዎች እንደሚያመለክቱት በአገሪቱ እስከ 50 ሺህ ኢትዮጵያውያን የሚገኙ ሲሆን እስከ 95 በመቶ የሚሆኑት እዚያ የሚደርሱት በሕገወጥ ደላሎችና አዘዋዋሪዎች በኩል ነው፡፡

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ART 2121 Vs Anti-suit or Anti-arbitration Injuction in Ethiopian Arbitration Law

It will be unwise to begin the essay without introducing the reader about injunction in Ethiopian Civil Procedure Code (CPC). Injunction is one form of provisional measure ordered by a competent judicial organ to the requesting party. Robert Allen Sedler, a famous author on Ethiopian civil procedure, says that it may be necessary to make provision for the protection of the parties and the maintenance of the property in dispute pending the final determination of the case. The court is vested with exclusive power to issue provisional measures until the final judgement.

Provisional measures serve many purposes inter alia allow the requesting party to satisfy his claim at the stage of execution. The CPC recognizes different kinds of provisional measures: attachment before judgment, arrest before judgement, temporary injunction, interlocutory orders, and habeas corpus. The claimant requires such measures if there is reason for him to believe that the defendant may obstruct the execution, delay the normal course of litigation, the property in dispute is in danger of being wasted, damaged or alienated. The court reserves the right to issue such measures pending litigation.

From the acknowledged provisional measures, I will focus on the widely known, temporary injunction, and try to correlate it with arbitration. Sedler defines temporary injunctions as an “order restraining a party from doing a particular act or requiring him to do such an act, and the plaintiff may ask for injunctive relief as part of the final decree.”

The code bestows power to courts to issue injunction in matters of property (Art 154) and in matters of contract (Art 155). If the litigation is in matters of property, the plaintiff has to “prove” with an affidavit that the property in dispute may disappear, in danger of being wasted, damaged or alienated, it may ask the court temporary injunctions to restrain such acts.

The court can also give injunctions where there is persistent breach of contract and it is prejudicial to the plaintiff. The code further underlines that provisions contained in art 155 do not affect what is contained in art 2121 of the civil code. Art 2121 says: “the court may grant an injunction restraining the defendant from committing, from continuing to commit or from resuming an act prejudicial to the plaintiff.

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Cassation Number 2239/2003 and Party Autonomy in Ethiopian Arbitration Law

Parties’ freedom to agree on any matter extends to agree to resolve their dispute either judicial litigation or arbitration. Arbitration is a system of dispute settlement where by disputants takes their case before arbitrators of their own choice. The civil code defines it “as a contract whereby the parties to a dispute entrust its solution to a third party, the arbitrator, who undertakes to settle the dispute in accordance with the principles of law.” (Art 3325(1)).

As any kind of consensual undertaking, the arbitral submission must adhere to the requirements under art 1678 of the civil code. The incapacity of the parties, the inarbitrability of matters, and the form in which it is signed might make the dispute settlement clause void. For instance, if an administrative agent enters into arbitration agreement, the dispute settlement clause will be voidable, as per art 315(2) of the civil procedure code. Also, for insurance contracts, the dispute settlement clause is expected to be in writing.

Recognizing parties’ interest to take their case to arbitration presupposes their autonomy. Party autonomy is an important pillar in any kind of contract agreement. The concept of party autonomy refers to the parties’ freedom to choose arbitration over judicial litigation, the venue of arbitration, the time limit in which the award can be given, substantive and procedural laws (in case of international arbitration). During signing of dispute settlement clause, the parties can insert arbitration final clause, i.e., a clause which aims to make the arbitral award final (non-appealable).

Ethiopian arbitration law allows appeal for those who are dissatisfied by the awards. Any party to arbitration proceeding may appeal under some specified conditions. However, they can waive the right of appeal but the waiver will not have any effect unless made with full-fledged consent (Art 350(2) of Civil Procedure Code).

Appeal is a procedure where by a party displeased by a decision of a lower court goes to a court of higher material jurisdiction. It can also be a process of asking a substantial change to a prior decision. Rober Allen Sedler, a renowned author on Ethiopian Civil Procedure, defines appeal as, “an application by a party to higher court to set aside or revise a decision of a subordinate court.” The court which is seized has the discretion to conduct de-novo hearing (re-hearing the case without any reference to the prior judgment.) However, Sedler argues that an appeal means a review of the case and not a retrial of the case by the appellate court. Does this exclude de-novo­ hearing? I will leave the question unanswered as the reader may be interested to read more about it. The grounds of appeal will involve errors of law and fact. Either party may appeal against any final judgment rendered in lower courts.

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