University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events > The Rule by law in Ethiopia: Rendering constitutional limits on government power nonsensical

The Rule by law in Ethiopia: Rendering constitutional limits on government power nonsensical

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This is a CGHR Research Group seminar, for more information see: http://www.polis.cam.ac.uk/cghr/research_research_group.html.

Rule of law is one of the most controversial yet most often used legal and political concepts. Scholars have distinguished between formal and substantive, and between thin and thick conceptions of the rule of law. Following the bandwagon, the Ethiopian Constitution commits itself to ‘building a political community founded on the rule of law’ and conditions the success of this laudable goal on the full respect of individual and people’s fundamental freedoms and rights. This paper intends to assess the constitutional basis and understanding of the rule of law and limits on government power in Ethiopia. It then discusses the manifestation of rule by law or the law of rules (much in line with the thin or formal conceptions of rule of law) in practice particularly since the most contested 2005 Ethiopian elections. It also identifies the constitutional, political, cultural, historical and practical factors that breed and reinforce rule by law and the defiance of the constitutional limits on government power including those limits embodied in the human rights guarantees. It concludes by suggesting the way forward in fulfilling the constitutional promise of a limited constitutional government.

This talk is part of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events series.

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