Review of Final Criminal Judgements in Ethiopia and the Quest for Remedies

  • Tesfaye Boresa
Keywords: Wrongful Convictions, Human Rights, Miscarriage of Justice, Review of Criminal Judgment, Post- conviction Remedies, Compensations


The right to life, liberty and security of individuals are protected under international and regional treaties and under the FDRE Constitution as well. Most of the treaties guaranteeing for these rights are ratified by Ethiopia. These rights are not absolute as they can be limited and deprived to enforce criminal law in the form of criminal responsibility. The course of criminal proceeding shall fulfill and realize the basic tenets of fair trial guarantee to minimize miscarriage of justice that would result and not to convict innocent involved in the process instead of the real culprits. Cognizant of the fact, human beings are not error proof and practical administration of criminal justice is influenced by different factors; wrongful conviction of innocents is inevitable. Furthermore, the proper realization of fair trial rights and safeguards cannot immune the system from making mistakes. But, it reduces the risk of convicting innocent individuals. Hence, wrongful conviction cannot be avoided. Wrongful conviction is the greatest injustice done to individuals for the crime they did not commit. Its potential to shake confidence of the public cannot be undermined. Though the issue was internationally recognized and backed by legal framework; the problem of wrongful convictions is not recognized in the Ethiopian criminal justice system. This article has disclosed some of the wrongful conviction cases in which innocents were imprisoned for many years for the crime they did not commit in the Ethiopian context. Despite the existence of the problem in the Ethiopian criminal justice system, there is no legal framework which allows for review of a final conviction after discovery of new evidence. The right to claim for compensations
as a result of damage caused to the individuals by state machinery is also not regulated. So, it is the focus of this piece to appraise factors contributing for the occurrence of wrongful convictions on one dimension and to scrutinize the legal lacunae with regard to post-conviction remedies for persons wrongly convicted in Ethiopia on another dimension


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2304-8239