PROCLAMATION NO. 250/2001
COUNCIL OF CONSTITUTIONAL
WHEREAS, the Council of Constitutional Inquiry has been established by the Federal constitution to give professional support t the House of the Federation which has been given the power to interpret the Federal constitution;
WHEREAS, it has been deemed necessary to organize and strengthen the Council of Constitutional Inquiry so as to further consolidate the task of interpreting the constitution, and to render professional services of due efficiency and effectiveness to the House of the Federation;
WHEREAS, it has been deemed necessary to specify the term of office and define the rights and responsibilities of members of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry;
NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with Article 55/1/ of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:
1. Short Title
This Proclamation may be cited as the “Council of Constitutional Inquiry Proclamation No. 250/2001.”
In this Proclamation, unless the context otherwise requires:
1) “Constitution” shall mean the Constitution of the Federal democratic Republic of Ethiopia;
2) “House of the Federation” shall mean the House of the Federation established in accordance with Article 53 of the Constitution.
3) “Council of Inquiry shall mean the Council of Constitutional Inquiry of the Federal Government;
4) “State” shall mean states formed in accordance with Article 47/1/ of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and, for the purposes of this proclamation, includes the Addis Ababa and the Dire Dawa city Administrations;
5) “Law” shall mean the Proclamations and Regulations issued by the Federal Government or the states as well as international agreements which Ethiopia has endorsed and accepted;
6) “State Organ” shall mean the Federal and State legislative bodies, Executives’ Judiciary or a body given a judicial
7) “Court” shall mean the Federal or State Courts at any level.
3. Organization of the Council of Inquiry
The Council of Inquiry shall have a chair person, deputy chair person, members, head of the Secretariat, and employees necessary to execute its duties and responsibilities.
4. Members of the Council of Inquiry
The Council of Inquiry shall have the following eleven members:
1) the president of the Federal Supreme Court… chair person.
2) the vice-president of the Federal supreme court-………………………. Deputy chair person.
3) Six legal experts appointed by the president of the Republic on recommendation by the House of Peoples’
Representatives, who shall have proven professional competence and high moral standing ………………………………… members.
4) Three persons designated by the House of the Federation from among its members….. members.
1) Secretariat of the Council of Inquiry (hereinafter referred to as “the secretariat”) is hereby established as an autonomous organ having its own juridical personality.
2) The Secretariat shall be accountable to the Council and to the Chair person of the Council.
6. Powers and Duties of the Council of Inquiry
The Council of Inquiry shall have the following powers and duties:
1) investigate constitutional disputes and should the council, upon consideration of the matter, find it necessary to interpret the constitution, it shall submit its recommendations thereon to the House of the Federation;
2) Where any Federal or State law is contested as being unconstitutional and such a dispute is submitted to it by any court or interested party, the council shall consider the matter and submit it to the House of the Federation for a final decision.
3) When issues of constitutional interpretation arise in the courts, the Council shall:
(a) remand the case to the concerned court if it finds that there is no need for constitutional interpretation;
(b) submit its recommendations to the House of the Federation for a final decision if it believes that there is a need fro constitutional interpretation.
7. Term of Office of the Members
1) The term of office of the members designated by the House of the Federation shall be consistent with that of the House of the Federation.
2) The term of office of members appointed by the President of the Republic shall be six years.
3) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-Articles (1) and (2) of this Article, members of the Council of Inquiry may be re-nominated.
8. Removal of Members
1) With the exception of the Chair person and the of Inquiry may subject to good causes, be removed by the body that nominated them.
2) The decision given pursuant to sub-Article (1) of this Article shall, however, be effected upon approval by the majority vote of the House of the Federation.
9. Working Conditions and Remuneration
1) Members of the Council of Inquiry shall be entitled to allowance or salary, as may be determined by the House of the Federation, for the service they render.
2) When it is found necessary, some members of the Council of Inquiry may be assigned to work at the Head office permanently.
10. Powers and Duties of the Chair person
The Chair person shall:
1) call and convene meetings of the Council of Inquiry.
2) Organize matters presented to the Council of Inquiry and communicate same to the members;
3) ensure that quorum is attained;
4) cause the preparation of recommendation or appropriate suggestion be made, by some of the members, on matters presented to the Council of inquiry;
5) communicate decisions of the Council of Inquiry to the concerned organs;
6) manage and monitor the Secretariat of the Council of Inquiry;
7) observe and cause the observance of the regulations and rules of the Council of Inquiry;
8) submit reports, to the House of the Federation, on the activities of the Council of Inquiry of every six months.
11. Powers and Duties of the Deputy Chair person
The Deputy Chair person shall:
1) Undertake the activities of the chair person, in the absence of the latter;
2) Carry out such other activities as may be assigned to him by the Chair person.
12. Powers and Duties of the Members
Any member of the Council of Inquiry shall:
1) attend any meeting of the Council of Inquiry unless prevented by reasons beyond his control;
2) inform the chair person, in advance where he has a reason beyond his control, and unable to attend a meeting;
3) take part in and be active participant in meetings of the Council of Inquiry and committees and make his best efforts for the successfulness of the Council;
4) abide by rules and regulations of the Council of Inquiry.
13. Meetings of the Council of Inquiry
1) The Council of Inquiry shall hold regular quarterly meetings.
2) The Council may call extra-ordinary meetings when it deems it necessary.
14. Powers and Duties of the Secretariat
The Secretariat shall have the following powers and duties:
1) render secretarial service to the Council of Inquiry;
2) arrange for halls required for sessions of the Council of Inquiry and meetings of its various committees;
3) see to it that the minutes, decisions and other documents of the Council of Inquiry are recorded and kept properly;
4) follow up publication and circulation of periodicals and newsletters issued by the Council of Inquiry;
5) cause services of cordial reception to be extended to visitors to the Council of Inquiry;
6) render research services to members of the Council of Inquiry.
7) own property, enter into contracts, sue and be sued in its own name;
8) perform such other duties as are conducive to the fulfillment of the activities of the Council of Inquiry.
15. Organization of the Secretariat
The secretariat shall have:
1) A Head appointed by the house of the Federation, on recommendation of the Council of Inquiry; and
2) the necessary staff.
3) The Head office of the Council of Inquiry shall be in Addis Ababa.
16. Powers and Duties of Head of the Secretariat
The Head of the Secretariat shall:
1) direct and administer the activities of the secretariat;
2) prepare the budget and work programe of the Council of Inquiry, and implement same upon approval;
3) exercise the powers and duties of the secretariat specified in Article 14 of this proclamation;
4) represent the secretariat in its dealings with third parties;
5) employ and administer personal of the secretariat in accordance with the Federal Civil Service law;
6) prepare and submit to the Chair person of the he financial accounts of the secretariat;
7) perform such other functions as are assigned to him by the Council of Inquiry and the Chair person.
Interpretation of the Constitution
1) The Council of Inquiry shall have the power to investigate constitutional issues;
2) Where any law or decision given by any government organ or official which is alleged to be contradictory to the
constitution is submitted to it, the Council shall investigate the matter and submit its recommendations thereon to the House of the Federation for a final decision.
3) If the Council, after investigating the case submitted to it, finds that there in no need for constitutional interpretation, it may reject the case and inform of its decision thereof to the concerned party.
18. Appealing to the House of the Federation
1) Any party who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Council, given pursuant to Article 17(3) of this proclamation, may Appeal to the House of the Federation.
2) An appeal under sub-Article (1) of this Article, shall be submitted within 60 days from receipt of the decision of the Council.
19. Submitting Recommendation
1) Where the Council, upon consideration of the matter, find it necessary to interpret the constitution, it shall submit its recommendations thereon, together with testimonies and documents
2) The Council shall submit its recommendations and documents related to the matter, to the House of the Federation, within a month time from the day it has approved its recommendations.
20. Principles Applicable for Constitutional Interpretation
1) The Council of Inquiry may develop and implement principles of constitutional interpretation which it believes to be helpful to investigate and decide on constitutional matters submitted to it.
2) Where the constitutional matters, submitted to the Council of Inquiry, are relating to the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution, such matters shall be interpreted in a manner conforming to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Convenants on Human Rights and International Instruments adopted by Ethiopia.
21. Constitutional Interpretation Inquired by the Courts
1) When issues of constitutional interpretation arise cases handled by courts, such issues may be submitted to the Council of Inquiry, by the court or the interested party.
2) The court handling the case shall submit it to the Council of Inquiry only if it believes that there is a need for constitutional interpretation in deciding the case.
3) It is only the legal issue necessary for constitutional interpretation that the court forwards to the Council of Inquiry.
4) The court shall keep the case before it pending until it receives response of the Council of Inquiry with respect to the legal issue of the case forwarded to it.
22. Constitutional Interpretation Enquired by Disputant in Court.
1) Any party having a case before a court may, where he believes that there is a need for constitutional interpretation in deciding the case, submit his case to the Council of Inquiry.
2) Notwithstanding with the generality of Sub-Article (1) of this Article, the concerned party shall, before submitting the case to the Council of Inquiry, present his request to the court that has handled the case.
3) Where the court rejects the case, the party concerned shall submit his case to the Council of Inquiry within 90 days from receipt of the has handled the case.
4) It is only the legal issue necessary for constitutional interpretation that the party concerned shall submit to the council.
5) The Council of Inquiry may order the court to keep the case before it, pending, until it decides on the enquiry for constitutional interpretation of the case.
23. Inquiring for constitutional interpretation of cases outside of the courts.
1) Any person who alleges that his fundamental rights and freedoms have been violated by the final decision of any government institution or official may present his case to the Council of Inquiry for constitutional interpretation.
2) Any appeal, under sub-Article (1) of this Article, may be made to the council only if the case has been exhausted by the government institution having the power with due hierarchy to consider it.
3) Final decision, under sub-Articles (1) and (2) of this Article, shall mean an adjudication that has been exhausted and against which no appeal lies on the same path-way.
4) A case requiring constitutional interpretation which may not be handled by courts may be submitted to the Council of Inquiry by, at least, one-thirds of members of the Federal or State Councils, or the Federal or State executive bodies.
Questions of inconsistency of laws with the constitution or issues relating to interpretations of the constitution to be submitted to the Council or Inquiry shall be in an elaborate writing.
If a case submitted by one of the disputants, to the Council of Inquiry, bears a relationship with a case simultaneously being handled by a court of law, the other disputant may be allowed, as may be appropriate, to submit his version or evidence pertaining to the case at issue.
26. Explanatory Body
Where the constitutionality of a law is found to be controversial, a governmental body which has the power to consult the federal or state governments, as the case may be, shall have the obligation to explain.
27. Gathering Professional Opinions
The Council of Inquiry may, before it gives constitutional interpretations, call upon pertinent institutions or professionals, to appear before it and give opinions.
1) The Council of Inquiry shall deliberate on cases submitted to it as per the order in which they are presented.
2) Nothwithstanding with Sub-Article (1) of this Article, the Council of Inquiry may deliberate on cases which it believes are of top priority.
29. Working conditions of the Council of Inquiry
The Council of Inquiry may handle issues at its disposal in a manner publicly transparent, in accordance with Article 12(1) of the Constitution,
30. Meetings and Rules of Procedure
1) The Council of Inquiry shall have a quorum if two thirds of the members are in attendance.
2) The ruling of the Council may be given by a unanimous vote after the Council has thoroughly examined the case submitted to it.
3) If no objections are raised on the ruling of the Council of Inquiry, it may be regarded as a unanimous vote.
4) If the Council of Inquiry can not decide on a case with a unanimous vote, the opinion of the majority vote of the
members attending the meeting shall be considered for a ruling. Opinions of the minority vote or proposals for compromise shall be appended to the decision of the Council of Inquiry.
5) If equal number of votes are taken on both sides, the side the chair person votes for shall prevail.
31. Contents of a Ruling
The text of the ruling of the Council of Inquiry shall consist of details of the constitutional issue, justification as to why it held the view that constitutional interpretation was necessary or not and the ruling it has finally made.
32. Speedy Ruling
The Council shall made a speedy decision on matters referred to it.
33. Service Charges
1) Any constitutional query submitted to the Council of Inquiry shall be exempt from a service charge.
2) Notwithstanding the Provisions of sub-Article /1/ of this Article, the applicant may be required to effect a payment in
accordance with the regulations by which the Council of Inquiry is guided.
1) The budget of the Council of Inquiry shall be drawn from the following sources:
(a) Government budgetary allocations
(b) Donations and aid
(c) any other lawful source
2) The budget stated under Sub-Article /1/ of this Article shall be deposited in the bank account of the Council of Inquiry
and shall be used only for the operations thereof.
3) The Council of Inquiry shall keep accurate records of its financial allocations.
4) The books of accounts and financial records of the Secretariat shall be audited by the Auditor General annually.
35. Duty to Cooperate
Any Government body or official is duty bound to execute the orders given by the Council of Inquiry on matters within its jurisdiction.
36. Effective Date
This Proclamation shall enter into force as of the 6th day of July, 2001.
Done at Addis Ababa, this 6th day of July, 2001.
NEGASO GIDADA (DR.)
PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL
REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA