Participation of Amicus Curiae in the Ethiopian Constitutional Interpretation Process: Examining its Constitutional-Legal Basis & Practical Ramifications
The participation of amicus curiae in the Ethiopian constitutional interpretation process is a recent phenomenon. The Council of Constitutional Inquiry (CCI), while it was entertaining the constitutional interpretation case which was referred to it from the House of Peoples’ Representatives in relation to the 2020 national election postponement case, admitted amicus briefs from different professionals before offering its recommendations to the House of Federation (HoF). The CCI also conducted a public hearing in which different amici curie presented their
opinions on the case. Until now, no full-fledged study is conducted on the constitutional-legal basis, theoretical underpinning and practical repercussions of the participation of amicus curiae in the constitutional interpretation process in Ethiopia. As a result, there is a knowledge gap in the area. This article attempts to fill this gap by undertaking a thorough examination of the constitutional-legal basis, theoretical underpinning and practical ramifications of the participation of amicus curiae in the Ethiopian constitutional interpretation process with particular reference to the election postponement case. The article employed doctrinal legal research method and it is guided by the interpretivist epistemology framework. Primary data sources such as the constitution of the country, subsidiary legislations and relevant rules of international law were used. Besides, secondary data sources such as books and journal articles were considered. The article also examined the issue from the perspective of comparative amicus curiae practice in the constitutional interpretation cases of other carefully selected countries. The article used qualitative data analysis method. It concludes that the participation of amicus curiae in the case at hand has an implied constitutionallegal basis and it has offered both virtuous lessons to be built upon and defective lessons to be rectified. Finally, the article recommends that the CCI and the HoF should come up with rules that, ex ante, regulate amicus procedure to make the utmost use of such practice.