Ethiopian witness protection system: comparative analysis with UNHCHR and good practices of witness protection report
Witnesses play an indispensable role in the justice system. As Bentham says “Witnesses are the eyes and the ears of justice.” They assist the court in deciding the guilt or otherwise of the accused person. They are crucial in a criminal proceeding; from reporting of crime to its trial. The evidence by a witness is crucial for the conviction of offenders. At the same time, individual facing criminal investigation or prosecution wants to obstruct the justice administration and relief themselves of liability; by intimidating witnesses and/or their families to jeopardize the criminal proceeding. Hence, it becomes very important to protect the witnesses to make sure they are not intimidated in order not to fear revealing the truth in court. This article discusses the concept of witness protection in Ethiopia and analyzes its protection law; emphasizing on provisions that are very essential for effective implementation by making comparisons with UNHCHR, Good Practices of Witness Protection, UNODC draft model law and some countries’ laws where witnesses are protected well. From the comparative analysis factors affecting implementation of the law like lack of necessary fund, organized staff, awareness about the law is concluded. Awareness creations, allocating necessary budget for the protection program, enacting regulation, and courtroom protection procedural guideline are measures needed to be taken for effective implementation of the law.