Mechanisms of Constitutional Control: A preliminary observation of the Ethiopian system

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Getahun Kassa, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission 

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Getahun Kassa (Ethiopian Human Rights Commission)

Published Aug 8, 2007


The present mechanism of constitutional adjudication in Ethiopia demonstrates unique features. The mechanism does not belong to any of the constitutional adjudication models operating in other countries. However, a well-developed system of constitutional adjudication is lacking in actual practice. The federal and regional state organs that exercise the power of constitutional control, i.e. the Council of Constitutional Inquiry and the House of Federation at the federal level and the Constitutional Interpretation Commissions, Council of Nationalities and Councils of Constitutional Inquiry at the regional level, are not functioning fully and, moreover, are not moving at equal pace. In some regional states, the institutions competent for constitutional control, though mentioned in the regional constitutions, are not even established yet. In other regions, these institutions have been established, but are not operating in practice. Besides, a challenge of judicial overlap is likely to emerge when the regional organs start to execute their task of constitutional control. Since no mechanism is devised to delimit the respective competences of thefederal and state organs, overlap between federal and state institutions is inevitable. Furthermore, there is no clear guidance with regards to the role of the judiciary on matters that involve determination of constitutionality.

Key Words: Constitutional Control, Federal Constitution, Regional Constitutions, Cases, Traditional and Religious Rules and Institutions 

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