Ethiopian Parliament Passes Amnesty Bill into Law
By Mahlet Fasil, June 28/2018
(Addis Standard) – In its 32nd regular session today, Ethiopian parliament has passed a proposed amnesty bill into law. The bill, which is now a law, was presented to the parliament for consideration by the Law, Justice and Administrative Affairs Standing Committee.
The law establishes board members drawn from five federal ministries and two individuals to be assigned by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The federal ministries included in the board are: Federal Attorney Genera (chair), Ministry of women and Children Affairs, Federal Police Commission, Federal Supreme Court, Federal Prison Administration as well as two individuals to be assigned by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The board will be accountable to the Prime Minister’s office. Addis Standard learned that although Ministry of Defense was initially included in the board it was later on removed as the federal Police Commission was deemed more appropriate.
The Amnesty law will pave ways for legal amnesty provisions for individuals facing criminal and/or terrorism charges or are convicted of alleged offenses such as outrage against the constitution and terrorism.
It is also expected to provide legal provisions to lift designations of terrorism from organizations such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Patriotic Ginbot 7 (PG7) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which are all classified by Ethiopian parliament as terrorist organizations.
Although Ethiopia has recently been freeing thousands of prisoners including those charged or convicted of terrorism offenses, the release was based on pardon provisions which makes it susceptible for re-institution under some circumstances.
The Amnesty bill will clear ways and make the decision not based on pardon but based on the law, which in tern absolves individuals and organizations who/which are legitimate for amnesty of all charges labeled against them. It will also eliminate re-institutions pardons once an individual or an organization is granted amnesty.