Update: Details of Ethiopia’s State of Emergency proclamation

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Gedion Timotewos, Minister of Justice, announcing the details of the State of Emergency

Addis Abeba, November 02/2021 – Earlier today, the Council of Ministers has declared a nationwide state of emergency effectively as of today and for six months to come. The news was announced by Gedion Timoteos, Minister of Justice, accompanied by Dr. Legesse Tulu, Minister Communications Services.

The Council of Ministers has proposed the nationwide State of Emergency, the first since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office three and half years ago, “to prevent citizens from being targeted” by the TPLF group, in reference to Tigrayan forces who are currently waging military offensives in Amhara and Afar regional states as. The emergency proclamation will be approved by the House of Peoples’ Representatives in the coming 48 hours.

The emergency proclamation has four major parts and the following is the translation of the four parts.

Editor’s note: The translation may not be exhaustive and may lack some parts due to the high technical terms included in the Amharic text. This is not in anyway to undermine the full details of the decree.

Part One

Recognizing that the terrorist TPLF and their accomplices are working closely with foreign forces that seek to weaken and even destroy Ethiopia; and because it has become difficult to deal with the grave threats to the sovereignty and survival of the country through the formal law enforcement and security structure, as it is necessary to declare and implement a state of emergency accordance with Article 93 (1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Short title
The emergency decree can be cited as “Proclamation No. 5/2021 decree to protect the existence and sovereignty of the country.”

For the purposes of this Proclamation

“Law enforcement” in this regard are the Ministry of Defense, the National Intelligence and Security service, the Federal Police Commission, State police and other security agencies.

Emergency Proclamation Command Post is a Command established in accordance with Article 7 of this Proclamation for the purpose of implementation and monitoring of this Proclamation.

Part Two

Unauthorized activities under the state of emergency
1 – Measures will be taken when the Command Post deems that the existence and sovereignty of the country, as well as the safety of civilians are in danger:
The Command Post
1. Can dispatch defense forces or any other security forces to any part of the country to maintain peace and order
2. Can, enlist to military trainee young people who have reached the age of military service and have weapons. If they are not in position, alternatively they can be ordered to give their weapons to the government
3. Can decide on curfews
4. Can shut down any public communication and public transportation system or order them to be terminated
5 – Can arrest anyone who is reasonably suspected of collaborating with terrorist groups without a court order, or retain them while the proclamation is in force or have them tried by regular law
6. Can hold accountable; search or stop anyone who is reasonably suspected of collaborating with terrorist groups; search any house, building, place, transportation, person or organizations that are reasonably suspected of collaborating with terrorist groups; can ask for individuals identity and check; captured by search or inspection or seize illegal weapons;
7. Can close roads and service facilities for a period of time and order for people to stay put in a certain place for a while, order people not to enter or to be released from a certain place.
8 – Can suspend or replace civilian administration by military command in whole or partly in parts of the country where there is a high level of insecurity and insecurity
9. Can suspend or revoke by the relevant authority the activities of a civil society organization suspected of providing moral and material support to terrorist groups, directly or indirectly.
10 – Can suspend or revoke by relevant authorities any media organization or journalists suspected of directly or indirectly providing moral support to terrorist groups

Reasonable use of force and unrestricted rights
1 – When it becomes necessary to take action, the Command Post can instruct the law enforcement to use reasonable force.
2 – The Command Post in its decisions and actions should adhere to respecting Articles of the Constitution under 93 (4)(xh) on provisions of the Constitution that cannot be suspended with regard to respect to rights.

Prohibited Activities and Obligations
1. Everyone has an obligation to respect the instructions and orders of the state of emergency in accordance with the proclamation
2. It is prohibited to oppose and obstruct the purpose of Command Post, or to help achieve the purpose of terrorist groups by contributing, encouraging terrorist groups, terrorizing civilians or disseminating terrorizing messages or speeches in any form is prohibited
3 – In any way, directly or indirectly, to provide terrorist groups with financial, information, material and moral support is prohibited.
4 – It is forbidden to hold any public meeting or peaceful demonstration without permission from the Command Post or without being given a hierarchical delegation to security forces from the Command Post.
5 – It is prohibited to carry and move around with weapons without the authorized consent from the Command Post except for members of the defense, federal police or other authorized security bodies.
6. Movement is prohibited in urban areas with resident ID, driver’s license in passport or equivalent identification document. In the event of lack of either of these documents, individuals are required to obtain temporary identification documents from nearby kebele, woreda and administration office or the police within two weeks after the Command Post issued detailed implementation guide.
7. Disruptions or economic sabotages in any critical service sector or in the production process are prohibited.
8. To use the implementation of the State of Emergency provisions for personal gain or abuse of power, arrest or similar actions intentionally without reasonable doubt are prohibited.

Part Three
On the establishment and responsibility of the Command Post
1. The implementation of the state of emergency will be established under the direction of the Chief of staff of the Armed Forces; the structure and organization of the State of Emergency will be done by the Prime Minister
3. The State of Emergency Command Post can establish special task forces or committees composed of the relevant bodies to responsibility for various issues and enforce the state of emergency
4. The State of Emergency Command Post shall be accountable to the Prime Minister of the FDRE.
5. The State of Emergency Command Post can direct and monitor the implementation of the state of emergency referred to in Article 4 of this Proclamation
6 . The Command Post coordinates, directs, and commands the law enforcement agencies in the country under the authority of a single command.
7. It shall have other necessary and appropriate powers to fulfill its responsibilities

Part Four
Restrictions and various provisions suspended
1. Until the expiration of the state of emergency in matters covered by this Proclamation no judiciary has authority.
2. The diplomatic rights enshrined in the Vienna Convention are protected.
However, the provisions, the essence and rules of etiquette which are inconsistent with this Proclamation will be suspended.

Criminal liability
1. Anyone convicted of a crime under the provisions of this Proclamation and the directives issued in accordance with this Proclamation can face up to three years light sentence in prison, or based on the seriousness of the offense could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison.
2. If the crime of transgression is punishable by a higher penalty under other laws, the heavier the penalty shall be applicable for offenses under the provision and the directives issued in accordance with this Proclamation
3. Criminal liability of violations of the guidelines the state of emergency continue under the Code of Criminal Procedure even if the state of emergency proclamations ended.

The power to issue directives
1. The State of Emergency Command Post can issues necessary guidelines to implement and fulfill its responsibilities
2. The directives issued in accordance with sub-article 2 of this Article shall be widely made available to the general public through through media before they are applicable
The period of validity of the proclamation
1. It will last for six months effective as of this state of emergency is declared by the Council of Ministers
2. Before the expiration of the six-month term the House of Peoples Representatives may determine the duration of the Proclamation.

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