Mizan Law Review

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Sovereignty, Legitimacy and Fundamental Rights as Limitations to Criminalisation Power of the State

Simeneh Kiros Assefa


Sovereignty is a doctrine of power that constitutes and vests supreme political power in the state, including criminal lawmaking power. However, this supreme power of exercising coercive state power through the criminal law is not unlimited. Because the justifications for sovereignty are also justifications for criminal lawmaking power of the state, they are discussed together. After presenting the justification and legitimacy of sovereignty and the criminal lawmaking power of the sovereign, this article discusses criminalization power of the state in three parts: the limitation inherent in the notion of sovereignty, in constitutionalism and the bill of rights. Finally, it reviews the practice of criminalisation in Ethiopia.

Key terms

Sovereignty · Criminalization · Legitimacy · Principle theory · Legislative rationality · Coordination theory

AJOL African Journals Online