PROCLAMATION NO. 251/2001
A PROCLAMATION TO CONSOLIDATE THE HOUSE
OF THE FEDERATION OF THE FEDERAL
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA AND TO
DEFINE ITS POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
WHEREAS, the House of the Federation, in which the Ethiopian nations, nationalities, and peoples are represented, as per the constitution which is the supreme law of the land is constituted as a governmental institution by the Constitution and the fundamental powers and responsibilities of which are specified in the Constitution:
WHEREAS, it has become necessary to clearly stipulate and specify the fundamental powers and responsibilities of the House in such a proclamation so that it shall successfully execute its functions;
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 “Consolidation of the House of the Federation and Definition of its Powers and Responsibilities Proclamation No. 251/2001.”
In this proclamation, unless the context otherwise requires:
1) “State” shall mean the states formed in accordance with Article 47/1/ of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and, includes the Addis Ababa City Administration and Dire Dawa Administrative Councilm;
2) “Law” shall mean Proclamations issued by the Federal or State legislative organs, and regulations and directives issued by the Federal and States government institutions and it shall also include international agreements that have been ratified by Ethiopia;
3) “House” shall mean the House of the Federation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;
4) “Constitution” shall mean the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;
5) A “Nation, Nationality or People” shall mean a group of people who have or share a large measure of a common
culture or similar customs, mutual intelligibility of language, common or related belief of identities, a common psychological make-up, and who inhabit an identifiable, predominantly contiguous territory;
6) “Council of Constitutional Inquiry” shall mean the Council of Constitutional Inquiry of the Federal Government;
7) “Court” shall mean any court constituted hierarchically both at Federal and State levels;
8) “Speaker” and “Deputy Speaker” shall mean the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker or the House of the Federation.
3. Powers and Responsibilities of the House
The House shall:
1) interpret the Constitution;
2) organize the Council of Constitutional Inquiry;
3) decide, in accordance with the Constitution, on issues relating to the rights of Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples to self-determination, including the right to secession;
4) promote the equality of the peoples of Ethiopia enshrined in the Constitution, and promote and consolidate their unity based on their mutual consent;
5) strive to find solutions to disputes or misunderstandings that may arise between states;
6) determine the division of revenues derived from joint Federal and State tax sources, and the subsidies that the Federal Government may provide to the States;
7) determine civil matters which require the enactment of laws by the House of Peoples’ Representatives.
8) Order the Federal Government to intervene if any state threatens the Constitutional order in violation of the Constitution;
9) Determine on the draft proposal of electoral constituencies submitted by the National Election Board based on Article 103/5/ of the Constitution;
10) Determine jointly with the House of Peoples’ Representatives the power of taxation on revenue sources, in accordance with Article 99 of the Constitution, of which neither the Federal nor the State governments have responsibility;
11) elect the President of the country in a joint session with the House of Peoples’ Representatives in accordance with Article 70/2/ of the Constitution;
12) participate in the process of the Constitutional amendment as stipulated in sub-Articles (1) and (2) of Article 105 of the Constitution;
13) in collaboration with others, offer education and training, and whenever necessary, carry out research in matters pertaining to its responsibilities:
14) Establish permanent and ad hoc committees of the House;
15) Elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House.
Interpretation of the Constitution
1) The House shall have the power to interpret the Constitution.
2) Notwithstanding with sub-Article (1) of this Article the House shall not be obliged to render a consultancy service on Constitutional interpretation.
5. Constitutional Interpretation
1) The House shall make the final decision upon draft proposal of constitutional interpretation submitted to it by the Council of Constitutional Inquiry.
2) A Party dissatisfied with the decision of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry of rejection of case relating to review of constitutional interpretation may appeal to the House.
6. Forwarding cases of Constitutional Interpretation
The House shall forward new cases of Constitutional interpretation, submitted to it directly, to the Council of Constitutional Inquiry.
7. Principles for Executing Constitutional Interpretation
1) The House shall identify and implement principles of Constitutional interpretation which it believes help to examine and decide Constitutional cases submitted to it.
2) Where the Constitutional case submitted to the House pertains to the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, the interpretation shall be made 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.
8. Additional Information and Evidence
The House shall collect additional information or order the pertinent body to produce evidence as may be necessary before it makes a final decision upon Constitutional interpretations.
9. Explanation and Confirmation of Constitutionality
1) Unless otherwise proved to the contrary, the enacted law is presumed to be constitutional while the House starts to review its constitutional.
2) Without prejudice to sub-article (1) of this Article, if the constitutionality of the law is found to be controversial, a government body which has the duty to consult the Federal or State government, depending on conditions, shall have the obligation to explain.
3) A pertinent Federal or State government institution may be ordered to appear before the House and explain, in accordance with sub-article /2/ of this Article, the constitutionality of a controversial law on a date fixed by the House.
4) In addition to the provisions of sub-Article (2) and (3) of this Article, before a decision is made on the constitutionality of a law, it may seek further explanation from the court handling the case and the parties involved in the case.
10. Gathering Opinions
The House may, before it passes a final decision on constitutional interpretations, call up on pertinent institutions, professionals, and contending parties to give their opinions.
11. Results of Decisions on Constitutional cases
1) The final decision of the House on constitutional interpretation shall have general effect which therefore shall have applicability on similar constitutional matters that may arise in the future.
2) The House shall publicize the decision in a special publication to be issued for this purpose.
12. Unconstitutional Law
If part of a given law is decided that it is unconstitutional, unless otherwise found necessary, the effect of the final decision shall remain limited to only that very law.
13. Resolving Constitutional cases in a short time
1) The House shall have the obligation to pass prompt decisions after investigating constitutional issues.
2) Notwithstanding to sub-article (1) of this Article the House shall pass decisions, within thirty days, over the recommendation submitted to it by the Council of Constitutional Inquiry.
14. Rule of Decision Making
1) Without prejudice to sub-article (3) of Article 46 of this proclamation, the House may pass a decision on cases of constitutional interpretation with a unanimous vote.
2) An issue is said to have been decided with a unanimous vote when no opposition is raised from the members of the House attending the meeting.
3) The final decision of the House on Constitutional interpretation shall be communicated to parties and the concerned institutions.
15. The content of the Decision
The decision of the House shall consist of details of the constitutional issue, justification for whether constitutional interpretation was necessary or not, and the decision it has finally made.
16. Effective Date of the Decision on Constitutional issue
1) Unless otherwise conspicuously stated in the decision, the decision of the House on constitutional interpretation comes into effect as of the date of the passing of the decision.
2) Notwithstanding to sub-article (1) of this Article the Federal or the State government legislative body may be communicated within six months so that it amends, changes, or repeals the law in question before a final decision of its unconstitutionality is made.
17. Service Charge
1) Application for constitutional interpretation submitted to the House shall be exempt, from a service charge.
2) Notwithstanding with sub-article (1) of this Article, the applicant may be asked to effect a payment in accordance with the regulations to be issued by the House as may be necessary.
18. Process of Decision Making
1) The House may establish a committee, drawn from its members, which shall investigate the draft proposal submitted to it by the Council of the Constitutional Inquiry and an appeal lodged against the decisions of the Council of the Constitutional Inquiry.
2) The committee may be mandated by the House to make a decision whether an appeal made against decisions of the Council of the Constitutional Inquiry should be presented to the general meeting of the House or not. Particulars shall be determined by the regulation to be issued by the House.
19. Questions of Self-Determination
1) The House shall have the power to decide on issues relating to the rights of nations, nationalities, and peoples to self-determenation. Any Nations, Nationality, or People who believes that its self identities are denied, its right of self-Administration is infringed, promotion of its culture, language and history are not respected, in general its rights enshrined in the constitution are not respected or, violated for any reason, may present its application to the House through the proper channel.
2) Question of the Right to Secession
Where the House is confirms, that the question of secession submitted to it has been supported by the two-thirds majority vote of the legislative council of the concerned nation, nationality, or people in accordance with Article 39 (4) and
(1) of the constitution, the House shall:
(a) arrange a referendum to the nation nationality, or people in question within 3 years of receipt of the decision of the legislative council of the Nation, Nationality, or People;
(b) transfer power to the council of the Nation, Nationality, or People after the confirmation of the support of the question to secession by the majority vote;
(c) execute the division of assets in accordance with particulars to be determined by law.
3. The Question of State Formation
1) The question of any Nation, Nationality, or people to form its own State is carried out:
(a) When the question for statehood has been approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the members of the Council of the Nation, Nationality, or People in question, and the request thereof is presented in writing to the State Council;
(b) When the Council that received the claim has organized, a referendum to the Nation, Nationality, or People that presented the request, within one year;
(c) When it is supported by majority vote in referendum of Nation, Nationalities or people on the question of state formation;
(d) When the State council have transferred its powers to the Nation, Nationality or People that claimed the statehood;
(e) A new State which is formed by the referendum shall directly be a member of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia without any need for application.
2) Any party claiming that the question of state formation has not been executed within the time specified in sub-article 3/1/B/ of this Article or alleges to have dissatisfaction with the decision, may appeal to the House.
3) The right prescribed in Sub-Article /2/ of this Article shall be presented to the House in writing by the Council of the Nation, Nationality, or People that claimed for the formation of State.
4) The House shall make a final decision within two years on issues presented to it in such a procedure.
20. Essentiality of Exhaustion of State-level procedures
1) The question specified in sub-article 1 of Article 19 shall be submitted to the House only under conditions that the question has not been given due solution by the various organs in the administrative hierarchy of the state concerned.
2) The States shall make decisions within two years up on question specified in sub-article 1 of Article 19 Particulars shall be determined by the law issued by the states.
3) The question may be referred directly no the House if it has not been decided within two years, or if the decision made dissatisfied the concerned party.
1) A question of the right to self-determination must be presented in writing. The application must consist of the details of the question supported with names, addresses and signatures of at least five per cent of the inhabitants of the Nation, Nationality or People, and whenever necessary, the official seal and signature of the administration that presented the question for the right to self-determination.
2) The individual or individuals who are delegated to present a petition to the House pursuant to sub-article (1) of this Article shall produce a reliable evidence of their delegation from the Nation, Nationality, or People. Particulars shall be determined by the regulations to be issued by the House.
22. Time set for Decision Making
The House shall made decision over the case, submitted to it, in not later than two years time from the day of receipt.
Resolving Disputes and Misunderstandings
The House of the Federation shall strive to resolve interstate or Federal-State government disputes and misunderstandings.
24. Duty of Readiness Discussions
1) Any party claiming to have a dispute with the Federal Government or a state must make a call in writing for a discussion.
2) The party called for must be ready for a genuine discussion within a maximum of forty-five days.
3) Following the two parties’ willingness to resolve their dispute by discussions the House shall strive to the fruition of their discussions. It shall also follow up the progress of the discussion.
25. Presenting the case to the House of the Federation
1) If one of the parties is unwilling to take part in a discussion initiated by the other, or that the discussion, held between the two has ended in disagreement, the case may be submitted to the House by the one or both of the parties.
2) The House may, when a case is submitted to it seek for a temporary solution or cause others to seek a solution in consultation with pertinent bodies.
26. Measures to be undertaken by the House
The House shall, before giving a final decision, create conducive condition where in the concerned parties could continue their discussion or cause the parties to give issues of their differences in writing within a specific period of time. It may also cause the parties to produce all evidences in their possession.
27. Resolving Border Disputes
The House shall decide issue of border disputes based on the peoples’ interest and settlement patterns.
28. Peoples’ interest and Settlement Patterns
1) The House shall pass a decision, based on sufficient information it may have, on redefining disputable borders taking into consideration the peoples’ settlement patterns.
2) The House shall seek for the peoples’ interest and consent as to redefining the disputable border, if it can not decide to which side the disputable land belongs.
29. Ensuring Peoples’ interest in Resolving Border Disputes
1) Peoples’ interest shall be ensured in a secret ballot referendum;
2) The referendum to ensure peoples’ interest shall be conducted in accordance with the basic principles of the law of election;
3) The referendum to ensure peoples’ interest on border disputes shall take place at kebele level. If the disputants cannot reach it an agreement as to the size or boundary of the kebele, it shall be determined by the House;
4) The House may delegate the National Electoral Board to execute the referendum;
5) Based on the result of the referendum, the disputed border area shall be part of the state for which the majority of the people voted. If, however, the result of the referendum excludes some areas of pocket lands the people in those areas shall reside there with their rights and freedoms ensured.
30. The Right to Vote
1) without prejudice to the provisions of the relevant law of election any Ethiopian whose age is 18 and above, and
registered and lived for five or more years in the disputable area shall have the right to vote. Particulars shall be determined by the regulation to be issued by the House.
2) A person whose displacement from the disputable area is proved to be due to reason related to the dispute, shall have the right to vote.
31. Time set for Resolving Border Disputes
The House shall pass the final decision on a border dispute in not later than two years time from the day of its receipt.
32. Miscellaneous Misunderstandings and Disputes
1) The House shall request the parties to resolve their misunderstandings by peaceful means and discussion where their misunderstanding is other than border disputes. It shall also attempt to abridge their difference;
2) If the concerned parties could not resolve their misunderstandings through discussion, the House shall strive to find a solution in any mechanism possible;
3) Without prejudice to the principles of the division of power stipulated in the constitution, the House shall seek solutions to misunderstandings that may arise between the Federal and the State governments.
33. Devising conflict Prevention and Resolution Mechanisms
The House shall study the traditional as well as modern ways of conflict prevention and resolving mechanisms, to resolve misunderstandings, and devise working procedure and institutionalize same.
34. Determining Civil Matters that Require the enactment of Laws
1) The House shall determine civil matters that require the enactment of laws to establish and sustain one economic community and refers to the Federal Legislative body.
2) The House may determine civil matters that are essential to create and sustain one economic community on its own initiatives or based on opinions and information submitted to it by other pertinent government institutions.
3) The House may prepare and submit a draft bill to the House of Peoples’ Representatives if it is convinced of the case.
35. Determining subsidies and Division of revenues derived from joint Federal and State tax sources
1) The House shall set a reliable and an ongoing improvement formula of subsidies which the federal government may provide to the states, based on the information it secures from relevant executive organs.
2) The relevant government institutions shall have the obligation to timely provide sufficient information to the House to execute its duties specified in sub-Article (1) of this Article.
3) The House shall devise systems and mechanisms for the division of revenues derived from joint tax sources between the Federal Government and the sharing State.
4) The House shall follow up the division of subsidies and joint revenues be effected in accordance with the systems and mechanisms devised.
5) The House shall undertake a series of studies on the impact of subsidies and division of revenues on States to achieve balanced development among States and eventually enable them be independent from subsidies. It shall therefore take or cause any corrective measure be taken to rectify defects.
36. Intervention of the Federal Government
1) The House shall order the Federal Government to intervene in any State in which it believes the constitutional order is endangered.
2) The House shall take this measure having due regard to the general constitutional structure and division of powers. The following cases are, however, sufficient to say that the constitutional order is in danger:
(a) suspension of government institutions recognized in the constitution directly or indirectly from their regular functioning or;
(b) the failure of any state to execute directives given to it by the House of Peoples’ Representatives in accordance with Article 55/16/ of the constitution, or its unwillingness to do so or;
(c) where the state fails to secure peace and security using its own regular peace keeping mechanism due to the fact that the problem is beyond its control and fails to call the Federal Government to intervene in such state of affairs.
3) When convinced that the constitutional order in the state is restored, the Federal government has the right to stop the intervention and without prejudice t such right, the House may also order the Federal government to stop its intervention.
37. Promoting Equality and Unity Among Peoples
1) The House shall, in collaboration with pertinent bodies, prepare various programmes and forums at various times to enhance the peoples’ democratic culture, and raise constitutional awareness.
2) The House shall follow up whether the curricula of educational institutions incorporate academic subjects that promote unity and equality among peoples.
3) The House shall also see to it that the government mass media give sufficient coverage to the purpose stipulated in sub-article (1) of this Article.
4) The House shall study and sort out possible obstacle attitude and trends for peoples’ unity and cooperation and devise a solution to be executed by the concerned bodies.
5) to strengthen and consolidate the socio-economic relations, equality and unity among the peoples of the States; the House shall;
(a) be engaged in capacity building so that states can properly implement their budget;
(b) take measures enabling to bring about balanced development in the socio-economic sectors among the states;
(c) ensure that the essential Federal infrastructures for investment in the economic sector are fairly distributed;
(d) based on the structure and division of power enshrined in the constitution, create conditions whereupon states shall cooperate and work for common benefits and assist their further consolidation;
(e) take masures, to instill the culture of tolerance, cooperation for a common goal among Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples, and that would also help them strengthen their unity.
(f) create special conditions in which less developed Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples can benefit in terms of human resource, training and special support in various other sectors, and follow up the execution.
1) The House shall review and approve the recommendation, regarding delimitations of constituencies submitted it by the National Electoral Board in accordance with Article 103/5/ of the constitution.
2) The House shall, before approval, examine the recommendation as to whether it does give due respect to people rights of equal representation.
Structure of the House of the Federation
39. Organization of the House
The House shall have a Speaker, a deputy Speaker, permanent and adhoc committees, and employees necessary to execute its powers and duties.
1) The House shall have its own secretariat which can ensure the expeditious execution of its responsibilities.
2) The secretariat shall be accountable to the Speaker of the House.
41. Legal Personality
The House shall have its own legal personality.
42. Powers and Duties of the Speaker
The speaker shall:
1) administer the meetings of the house;
2) manage all the House’s administrative works;
3) implement the disciplinary measures the House takes on its members;
4) follow up the implementation of the decisions of the House;
5) submit the House’s work programme and budget to the House of the Peoples’ Representatives, and implement same upon approval;
6) execute other responsibilities as determined by law.
43. Powers and Duties of the Deputy Speaker of the House
The Deputy speaker shall:
1) execute responsibilities directed to him/her by the Speaker of the House;
2) act on behalf of the speaker in his absence.
44. Head of the Secretariat of the House
1) The Head of the Secretariat of the House shall be appointed by the House upon presentation nominee by the speaker from professionals outside the members of the House;
2) The Head of the Secretariat shall, under guidiance of the speaker, perform the administrative activities of the House.
45. Employment of workers
The Secretariat shall, employ and administer employees of the secretariat pursuant to regulations enacted by the House based upon the basic principles of the Federal Civil Service laws.
46. Meetings and Rules of Procedure
1) The House shall convene at least twice in a year,
2) There shall be a quorum where two-thirds of the members of the House are present;
3) Decisions of the House shall be passed by a majority vote of the members.
47. Nomination of Members of the House
1) Each Nation, Nationality, and People shall be represented in the House of the Federation by at least one member. Moreover, each Nation or Nationality shall be represented by one additional representative for each one million of its population.
2) The number of representatives shall be determined in proportion with the number of human population in each Nation, Nationality, and people in the whole country.
3) The House shall inform each state the number of representatives each Nation, Nationality, and People shall send to it pursuant to sub-article 1 and 2 of this Article six months before the beginning of the first joint session of the two Houses.
4) The Councils of States shall send the list of their representatives in accordance with the list of representatives send back to them on the House a month before the commencement of the joint session of the two Houses. The representatives shall be selected by the Council of States themselves or directly by the people.
5) States shall conduct elections in accordance with the pertaining election laws if they wish to directly draw their representatives from the people.
6) If the people to be represented in the House have their own Zonal and Wereda administration, the representative shall be elected with the full participation of the councils, and the election procedure shall be arranged by the State Councils.
48. Immunity of Members of the House
1) No member of the House may be prosecuted on account of any vote or opinion raised in any meetings of the House nor any administrative measures taken against any member on such ground.
2) No member of the House shall be charged with or arrested on grounds of felony without the permission of the House except in the case of flagrante delico.
49. Disciplinary Measures
Where a member of the House fails to competently represent his Nation Nationality or people he may be subjected to discipilinary measure in accordance with the regulations of the House.
50. Removal of member from The House
No member of the House shall be removed except on the following grounds:
(a) Where the State Council that elected him decides that he be removed;
(b) Where a member is directly elected by the people fifteen percent (15%) of the electorate decided that he be removed in accordance with relevant regulations of the Electoral Board:
(c) Where the House by two-thirds vote decided that a member does not represent properly his constituency due to moral incompetent.
1) Where a member of House is deceased or resigns or removed on the ground specified under Article 50 of this proclamation the House shall communicate to the concerned state;
2) Upon the receipt of the communication, the State Council shall, in short period, send a substitute after nominate or cause the constituency to nominate by direct vote.
52. Committee Formation
1) The House shall establish standing and ad hoc committees from its members and define their powers and duties;
2) Each committee shall have a chairman, dupty chairman and a secretary;
3) The House may assign three, members selected from each standing committee to work permanently thereon;
4) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-article (3) of this Article, the House may raise the number of members of thestanding committee to be assigned permanently, if it deemed it necessary.
53. Committee Leadership
1) The Chairman shall:
(a) call and chair committee meetings;
(b) organize and distribute the agenda of the meeting to the committee members;
(c) verify that a quorum is attained;
(d) communicate the decision of committee to concerned bodies;
(e) submit periodically the committee’s performance report to the speaker.
2. Deputy Chairman
(a) Shall act on behalf of the chairman in the absence of the later;
(b) Shall perform other functions as instructed by chairman.
The secretary shall record the minutes of the committee, oversee the orderly documentation of files and discharge other duties as instructed by the chairman.
1) There shall be a quorum where half of committee members are present.
2) Unless the House issues regulations otherwise, the committee’s decision shall be passed by majority vote.
1) The budget of the House
The budget of the House be drawn from the following sources:
(a) Budget appropriated by the Government
(b) Donations and aid;
(c) any other lawful source.
2) The funds stated under sub-article 1 of this Article shall be deposited in the bank account and shall be usable only for the conduct of the House operations.
3) The House shall keep a verifiable balance sheet indicating its expenditures.
4) Books of accounts and financial documents of the Secretariat shall be audited by the Auditor General annually.
56. Finality and Enforceability of Ruling
1) Decisions of the House on matters submitted to it shall be final.
2) The concerned parties are required to observe and execute decision of the House.
57. Power of Submitting Bills
The House shall have the power to submit bills, to the House of peoples’ Representatives on matters within its jurisdiction.
58. Power to issue regulation
The House may issue regulations for the implemention of this proclamation
59. Repealled laws
1) Proclamation No. 13/88 shall not have effect on matters pertaining to this proclamation.
2) No laws, regulations, directives or rulings which are inconsistent with this proclamation shall have effect with respect to matters provided for herein.
60. Effective Date
This proclamation shall enter into force as of the 6th day of July.
Done at Addis Ababa, this 6th day of July, 2001.
NEGASO GIDADA (DR.)
PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA