Mizan Law Review

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Public Interest Environmental Litigation in Ethiopia: Factors for its Dormant and Stunted Features

Yenehun Birlie


Public interest environmental litigation (PIEL) has been introduced into the Ethiopian legal system since 2002 with the prime purpose of facilitating and complementing the environmental protection efforts of the country. However, little progress has been recorded in utilizing this innovative litigation tool. The purpose of this article is to examine the legal and policy frameworks for PIEL and investigate some of the main factors impeding its effective use for the promotion and protection of the environment rights in Ethiopia. Laws related to PIEL are examined and interviews and discussions with the relevant stakeholders are conducted with regard to environmental management in Ethiopia. I argue that even though the legal and policy framework for PIEL, with all its limitations, is in place, gaps in judicial activism, legal culture, political will, public perception towards law, judicial process and justice, the type of legal system, the perception and behavior of the government towards civil society, and inadequate environmental information have adversely affected the development of PIEL.

Key terms

Public interest litigation · Environment · Standing · Justice · Ethiopia
AJOL African Journals Online