EthioPoint: Ethiopians Analysis | Research Articles


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by Abduljebar Hussien
The constitution attempts to incorporate some substantive principles which are help full to safe guard against abuse of state of emergency. It requires the actual occurrence of an exceptional threat to the constitutional order. The circumstances of breakdown of law and order that endangers the constitutional order should be something which cannot be controlled by the less restrictive measures of the ordinary law. As state of emergency is an exceptional situation, the emergency measures are to be taken exceptionally as a last resort when possible ordinary law restrictive measures could not avert the crisis. the declaration of emergency must be a last resort to be taken only when the normal measures of public order have been exhausted and are not sufficient to deal with the situation; the declaration of state of emergency must be a temporary measure in which it must be for a well defined period, and can only be extended in accordance with the law.
The measures taken to avert the crisis should also be proportional to the threat posed by the crisis. Hence, suspension of rights and freedoms of citizens should be limited to the extent strictly required by the situation on the ground. ICCPR state that restrictions placed on rights and freedoms in times of public emergency must be limited “to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation. According to the Human Rights Committee’s General Comment on Article 4 of the ICCPR, the requirement of proportionality “relates to the duration, geographical coverage and material scope of the state of emergency and any measures of derogation resorted to because of the emergency. Thus, “emergency power cannot be used to destroy the guaranteed rights altogether or to impose unwarranted limitations on their exercise. In other words, the principle of proportionality proscribes or forbids:
unnecessary suspension of specific rights,
greater restrictions on those rights than necessary, or
The unnecessary extension of the geographical area to which the state of emergency applies.
The principle of proportionality is also clearly provided under the FDRE constitution. Art. 93 (4) (b) empowers the council of ministers to suspend the rights and freedoms in the constitution to the extent necessary to avert the conditions that required the declaration of a state of emergency.The House of peoples representatives should examine the currently proclaimed state of emergency in line with the above parameter also.