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The Ministry of Justice convenes the Attorney Generals' Joint Council in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

ETH CJP_Minister of Justice speaking_16 Feb 22Adama (Ethiopia), 16 February 2022 - As part of providing support to Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice system reform initiatives in Ethiopia, UNODC supported the Ministry of Justice in convening a high-level Attorney Generals’ Joint Council Meeting on 16 February 2022. UNODC supported the efforts towards the realization of the 1-day event that saw the senior management of the Ministry of Justice and representatives from regional public prosecution institutions deliberate on and issue a joint plan on common and similar matters of the justice sector to make their performance effective, efficient, and uniform. The event was made possible through the financial support from the Government of Japan to its programme, Supporting Transformation, Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa, as well as the Government of Sweden through the Programme, the National Integrated Programme for Ethiopia.

The Joint Council, which is chaired by the Minister of Justice with the heads of prosecutorial institutions of all the regions in the republic participating as members, was established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Attorney General Establishment Proclamation No. 943/2016 as a forum for federal and regional prosecution bodies to work jointly and in collaboration. The move comes at a time where the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) has seen an increase in legislative reform on many areas within the past 3 years. Since 2019, there have been several key legislative reforms, especially in the areas of the Criminal Justice agenda including the drafting of the Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Law which is expected to be approved by the House of Representatives. The Joint Council Meeting is the first meeting conducted based on the establishing Proclamation 943/2016 and has adopted a memorandum for the working procedure and subsequent meeting arrangements.

ETH CJP_Minister of Justice speaking 2_16 Feb 22Speaking at the event, the Minister of Justice – HE Dr Gedion Timothewos elaborated on the key challenges of the criminal justice system and the state of the reform. The Minister then highlighted the necessary measures to address these challenges focusing on four areas of reform, namely: legal reform, institutional reform, legal awareness, alternative dispute resolution and transitional justice. In line with these directions, the Minister also presented a draft document outlining the substance of the joint agreement, which was enriched with input from participating institutions. Accordingly, seven thematic areas were identified as the key areas of focus for the activities of the Joint Council including: crime prevention; legal aid services; criminal law; protection of human rights; the administration of civil laws; legislative drafting and pardon and amnesty. This was followed by a presentation of the Common Agenda to ensure uniform implementation of plans. The Minister thanked UNODC for the engagement towards the reform of the justice sector and looked forward to future collaboration.

ETH CJP_Abraham Ayalew speaking_16 Feb 22Addressing the meeting participants on behalf of UNODC, Mr. Abraham Ayalew gave a summary of UNODC’s programming framework and its engagement in Ethiopia on the areas of justice, human security and health and social development. In the context of the meeting, he provided a rundown of UNODC’s support to criminal justice reform and building the capacities of the key criminal justice institutions. Drawing upon the preceding discussions during the meeting, he also touched upon the state of justice system coordination and the way forward for cooperation to strengthen ongoing efforts.

ETH CJP_Meeting participants_16 Feb 22The concluding session of the meeting involved visits to the Juvenile Justice Centre and the Women & Child Bench (specialized bench of the Oromia High court) in Adama. This visit was followed by a closing ceremony during which the rules of the Joint Council were signed by the Minister and heads of the respective Attorney Generals’ Offices of the Regions. Following this development, the Ministry of Justice plans to organize a series of forums for mid-level officials at the Ministry and from the regional prosecution institutions with a view to ensuring the uniform application of planned activities. The first of these forums is expected to take place in Bahirdar City of the Amhara Region at a date to be determined following consultations among the involved institutions.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Abraham Ayalew -

National Programme Officer                       

UNODC Programme Office in Ethiopia