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Breach Of Secrecy Against Public Interest

TITLE II BREACH OF SECRECY AGAINST PUBLIC INTEREST

Article 396- Breaches of Military Secrecy.
(1)    Any member of the Defence Forces, or any person in the service thereof, who, apart from cases of treason and espionage punishable under the relevant provisions (Arts. 248-252), discloses or communicates information, papers or facts which are secret, or have been secret by order, or are not intended for publication, which have come to his knowledge in the course of his duties.
is punishable, even where his duties have ended, with rigorous imprisonment not exceeding seven years.
(2)    The punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years:
(a)    where the crime concerns secret information or document kept in cipher, or of which the safekeeping had been expressly entrusted to the accused person, or where the latter has sworn an explicit oath of secrecy; or
(b)    Where the damage caused by the crime affects particularly vital interests.
(3)    Where the crime is committed negligently, the punishment shall be fine or simple imprisonment not exceeding one year in the case of the simple crime under sub-article (1), or simple imprisonment not exceeding three years where there is aggravation under sub-article (2) above.

Article 397-  Breaches of Official Secrecy.
(1)    Public servants (Art. 402) who disclose information, documents or facts which are secret within the meaning of Article 396 and which have come to their knowledge in the course of their duties.
are punishable with simple imprisonment or fine, whether the disclosure was made during the period of their employment, office or duties or after termination thereof.
(2)    Where there is aggravation due to the criminal’s special obligation to maintain secrecy or special position of trust, or to the gravity of the damage caused by the breach of duty, the punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment not exceeding ten years.
(3)    Where the crime is committed negligently, the punishment shall be fine not exceeding one thousand Birr, or simple imprisonment not exceeding one year in the case of the simple crime under sub-article (1), or simple imprisonment not exceeding three years in the case of the crime under sub-article (2), hereinabove.

Article 398- Authorized Disclosure.
Disclosure in the interest of the public before a Court of justice or a competent Court of inquiry is not punishable where it is made with the written consent of the competent civil, administrative or military authority.

Article 399- Breaches of Professional Secrecy.
(1)    Ministers of religion of whatever belief, advocates, legal advisers, attorneys, arbitrators, experts, jurors, translators and interpreters, notaries, directors, managers, inspectors or employees of private companies or undertakings pledged to secrecy under the provisions of the Civil and Commercial Codes, and doctors, dentists, pharmacists, midwives, nurses and auxiliary medical personnel, who disclose a secret which has come to their knowledge in the course of their professional duties, whether or not such duties have ended at the moment of disclosure,
are punishable, upon complaint, with simple imprisonment or fine.
(2)    Students, probationers or apprentices who disclose a secret which they have learned in the course of their professional training are liable to the punishment prescribed under sub-article (1) above.
(3)    Where the breach is committed negligently, it is punishable, upon complaint, with fine not exceeding one thousand Birr or simple imprisonment not exceeding one year.

Article 400- Authorized Disclosure.
(1)    Any disclosure shall not be punishable:
(a)      where it is made with the express consent of the person interested in keeping the secret;
(b)    where, at the suggestion or request of the possessor of the secret, the competent higher professional or supervisory body has given its written permission for disclosure;
(c)    where it is made following an express decision of a Court of justice in a specific case; or
(d)    where special provisions of the law permit or impose the duty, in the interests of public order, to give evidence before a Court of justice or to inform a public authority.
(2)    Where disclosure is expressly ordered by law, by a Court of justice or by the competent authority, the possessor of the secret cannot invoke his professional obligation to maintain secrecy.
The secrecy of religious confession is at all times inviolable.

Article 401- Disclosure of Scientific, Industrial or Trade Secrets.
(1)    Whoever, in violation of his legal, contractual or occupational obligation, discloses an economic, scientific or technological development or information, industrial or trade or scientific secret or scientific method of its application, to a person to whom he is expected so to do, with intent
Is punishable with simple imprisonment not exceeding one year, and fine not exceeding ten thousand Birr.
(2)    Where a scientific secret vital to national defence is disclosed, the special provisions specified under Article 396 shall apply.