Ethiopian Press Agency (Addis Ababa)

20 November 2012

Ethiopia: Little About Legal Protection, How It Is Lifted Up

It is well recognized that any member of the House of Peoples' Representative is not caught by the concerned bodies when suspected. This means, even though the member herself/himself is willing to be arrested or accused of doing wrong, the concerned justice body could hardly accuse him/her of or catch the person unless the house members' code of ethics or working procedure stipulated in proclamation no. 109 is fulfilled.

If anybody claims that the legal protection granted to House members needs to be lift up, since the authorized body to accuse the member of or catch him/her following their deed, the question is posed to the House through the letter written by the Justice Minister. If the authority is also cascaded to states and the body which is entitled to catch or accuse them of is the state justice body, the question is forwarded following the letter written by the State chief. Any question revolving around legal protection lift up must be presented to the House speaker in written form. Then the House speaker can either directly present the legal protection lift up request to the House or refer it to the Legal, Justice and Administrative Affairs Standing Committee.

The House can also refer the legal protection lift up request presented by the House Speaker to the Legal, Justice and Administrative Affairs Standing Committee for further scrutiny so that it would be easy to pass verdict or pass decision itself on it accordingly. There are procedures and systems followed by the committee to whom the issue is refereed. Based on the procedures set, the committee is expected to make sure the presence of indicators that help lift up the legal protection but ensuring the House has committed such a mess or crime is the authority given to the formal court. To know the presence of indicators, the standing committee allows persons or documents to be presented, the concerned body to clarify the issue in person, even it can go to the extent that the committee can ask the person who is accused of doing something.

The standing committee evaluates every indicator of the weight of the committed crime while preparing resolutions. The House in turn would pass verdict based on the resolution and report presented. It would also notify the one requested the legal protection lift up and the concerned body about the decision through written letter. Be that as it may, the House member whose legal protection is lifted up does have his/her own rights. Following this right, other proclamations in it kept intact, his/her House membership wouldn't be interrupted. For example, the salary paid for being a House member, House allowance, the benefited that could not be interrupted due to his being in jail, if he is arrested, would not quit. According to the House members code of ethics and procedures, if a House member, whose legal protection is lifted following his/her being suspected of doing something wrong, is suspected on another wrongdoing, he/she will not be accused of or seized without the consent and willingness of the House of Peoples' Representatives.

The legal protection of the member starched by the House could be recovered for different reasons. One, when he investigator or accuser closes the file following being short of convincing ground to accuse the person of; the court to which the accusation is presented assures that the person is free from the crime; when the concerned court provides the wrong doing verdict except there is not opposing proclamation on it and when the suspect finishes his/her time being in jail, if they are thrown into custody

The Legal, Justice and Administrative Affairs Standing Committee follows up the issue of the person whose legal protection is lifted up to check at what level it is without interfering the activities of the responsible justice body. It would report to the house if it is necessary. Finally, the body requested the legal protection of a member to be lifted up is expected to notify the result it has come up with so far to the house.

Getting the right respect

If any existing or former House member does have a request revolving around rights, if she/he says "My right is violated; it is not put into effect," can forward written request to the House Speaker or the Legal, Justice and Administrative Affairs Standing Committee. When the right protection request concerns the majority of the House members, it will be presented to the House and critically seen. The committee to whom the question is forwarded in turn presents its question to the House Speaker after investigating the condition. The House Speaker also passes decisions upon the issue after clarifying the issue using various ways or presents to the House and get it decided. And the House will decide upon it after investigating the issue in line with the set rules and guidelines of the House.

The question of right protection would be unacceptable for any existing or former House member unless they present their question within three months. Even the time to present the request could not at all be postponed to the next parliament period. And the House Speaker is entitled to follow up what is going on with regard to right respect and get them implemented it.

For understanding

Leaving membership right

A. Any member of the House can leave their membership at any time with their consent

B. A member who wants to leave the membership of the House is expected to present their request written

C. The House Speaker would notify the house about membership leave request D. The membership of someone would quit as of the time the House Speaker presents the request to the House.

Question of the week

Q. What is the draft law prepared by the Council of Ministers and presented to the House called

A. Government draft law

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