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Rules Governing Penalties

Section I- principal Penalties

Article 746- Exclusion of Ordinary Criminal Penalties.

(1)    Petty offences shall not be punished with rigorous or simple imprisonment prescribed for ordinary crimes. Petty offences differ from ordinary crimes by reason of the different penalties they merit.
(2)    The only penalties which may be imposed for petty offences are those specified in the following provisions subject to the special forms of punishment applicable to military petty offenders or young persons.
(3)    In cases where protective or therapeutic measures should be prescribed in the general interest, in particular in respect to irresponsible persons (Arts. 130 and 131), the Court shall inform the competent administrative authority (Art. 154).

Article 747- Arrest.

(1)    Arrest is the only penalty involving deprivation of liberty which may be imposed in the case of petty offences.
The duration of such arrest shall be of one day at least and of three months at most, subject to cases or recidivism (Art. 769) and cases where special provisions of the law provide a higher maximum.
The Court shall determine the penalty taking into account the degree of guilt of the petty offender (Art. 88) without going below the special minimum or beyond the special maximum where such periods are fixed by law.
(2)    The provisions on conditional release (Arts. 201-207) shall not apply to arrest.

Article 748- Enforcement of Ordinary Arrest.

(1)    Ordinary arrest shall be undergone in special premises for detention attached to Courts or police stations. Convicts shall be separated according to sex.
No person sentenced to arrest shall be detained in penitentiary or corrective institutions nor confined with prisoners sentenced for crimes to imprisonment (Art. 746 (1)).
(2)    A person sentenced to arrest shall not be compelled to work nor be entitled to remuneration (Art. 111).
He may receive food, mail and visitors from outside to the extent compatible with the tranquility and general good order of the place of detention.

Article 749- Arrest in a Home or an Establishment.

(1)    When personal or local conditions seem to justify such a measure the Court may order that arrest shall, subject to adequate control or safeguards, be undergone either in the home of the person sentenced or in the home of a reliable person or in a lay or religious community designed for the purpose.
(2)    Permission to leave home may, apart from case of force majeure, be granted exceptionally and by decision of the Court only for the performance of religious duties, the consultation of a physician, or for receiving indispensable medical care or appearing before a judicial authority, and then only for such time as is strictly necessary.
A Person sentenced to home arrest shall provide for his own up-keep.

Article 750- Special Method of Enforcement in case of Members of the Defence Forces and Young Offenders.

(1)    Arrest imposed upon members of the Defence Forces by reason of failure to discharge their military duties (Art. 792) shall be determined in accordance with military regulations and undergone under military discipline and control in the premises used for this purpose.
(2)    Young persons sentenced to arrest shall undergo their punishment either by school or home arrest under he conditions provided for their case (Art. 161) or, when this is impracticable, under the supervision of an institution, a charitable organization of a reliable person appointed by the Court.
Arrest in their case may be served at different times: Provided that no period of arrest shall be for less than three hours and the total period shall not exceed fifteen days.

Article 751- Compulsory Labour in Substitution for Arrest.

(1)    In cases where the penalty of arrest can be pronounced the Court may, if the circumstances or the conditions of enforcement so justify, replace this penalty by a term of compulsory labour of equivalent duration, with or without restriction upon liberty, coupled with a bdeduction from the petty offender’s earnings for the benefit of the State (Art. 103 and 104).
The duration and the amount of money to be deducted shall be fixed by the Court in its judgment.
(2)    These provisions shall not apply to members of the Defence Forces on active service, nor to young persons.

Article 752- Fine; Ordinary Case.

(1)    Fine may be between one Birr and three hundred Birr, except in cases of recidivism (Art. 769) and where the law provides a higher maximum.
Where the petty offender acted for gain the fine may be increased to five hundred Birr, without prejudice to aggravation in cases of recidivism.
In determining the fine the Court shall take into account the financial state of the petty offender, as well as the gravity of the petty offence and the degree of guilt (Art. 90).
(2)    A fine may be imposed in addition to arrest, where circumstances justify, in particular where the law provides these penalties as alternative penalties or where the petty offender acted for gain (Arts. 91 and 92).
(3)    The Court may grant the convicted person time for payment not exceeding three months (Art. 93), and may allow payment by instalments. When circumstances so justify, the Court may extend the period upto a maximum period of one year.
A person sentenced to pay a fine may be permitted to pay the fine by performing work of an equivalent monetary value (Art. 95).
(4)    The penalty shall be only fine in respect of a juridical person. Subject to the provisions of Articles 768 and 770, fine may be between ten Birr and one thousand and two hundred Birr.

Article 753- Conversion of Fine into Compulsory Labour.

(1)    In the event of non-payment of the fine within the fixed period of time, the Court shall order the conversion of the fine, or of such part of the fine as remained unpaid, into compulsory work performed freely or with restriction on liberty, together with a deduction for the benefit of the State.
(2)    The Court shall determine the duration of the compensatory term on the basis of the relevant general provisions (Arts. 96 and 103).

Article 754- Recovery of Fine; Special Case of Members of the Defence Forces or Young Persons.

(1)    Where a member of the Defence Forces has committed an offence under the ordinary law the Court may, to recover a fine or party thereof, order that deductions be made for a specified period from the member’s pay to cover the fine or part thereof remaining unpaid.
The deduction may not exceed a quarter of the member’s pay except with his consent. It shall be fixed by the Court in consultation with the responsible military authority of the convicted person.
(2)    In the case of a young petty offender the fine shall be fixed by the Court within appropriate limits, taking into special account the gravity of the petty offence, his material circumstances and the degree of need for the warning constituted by the penalty.
Where the young petty offender intentionally fails to pay the fine the Court shall convert the fine into arrest for young persons on such conditions as it considers appropriate in the circumstances.

Article 755- Reparation of the Damage.

Nothing shall affect the reparation of the moral or material compensation for the damage caused by the offence to the injured party (Arts. 101 and 102), where the circumstances of the case justify.

Section II- Secondary Penalties

Article 756- Warning and Reproof.

(1)    A warning, reproof, reprimand or the making of amends (Art. 122) may be imposed by the Court in addition to a penalty of arrest, compulsory work or fine.
(2)    The Court may substitute the above mentioned penalty for the principal penalty in the case of extenuating circumstances or minor offences.

Article 757- Exclusion of Forfeiture of Rights.

(1)    In case of petty offences forfeiture of civic or family rights or rights to discharge an office or exercise of profession (Art. 123) may not be ordered.
(2)    No order may be made for reduction in rank and exclusion from the Defence Forces (Art. 127) on a solider who has committed a petty offence.

Section III- Safety Measures

Article 758- Guarantee of Good Conduct.

(1)    A guarantee for good behaviour (Art. 134) can only be ordered in cases of repeated petty offences against public order or tranquility, or the safety of persons or things, and only where the commission of further offences is probable.
The guarantee shall not exceed one year.
(2)    Where an offender who is able to provide guarantee refuses to provide one, arrest (Art. 748) for a period not exceeding fifteen days, or, where the petty offender is a soldier military arrest (Art. 750) shall be ordered.
This period cannot be extended.

Article 759- Confiscation and Forfeiture to the State.

(1)    Confiscation of objects or material means endangering security, order, health or decency, or intended to facilitate, or to be used for the commission of a offence, or which have been used for the commission of an offence (Art. 140) may be ordered by the Court if such confiscation appears to be justified in addition to the principal penalty.
It may be ordered as a preventive measure where public safety so requires (Art. 141).
(2)    The Court may order forfeiture to the State of such objects and means (Art. 100).

Article 760- Prohibition of Undertakings and Suspension of a Work Permit.

Withdrawal of a license (Art. 142), closing of an establishment or suspension of its activity (Art. 143), whether total or partial, may be ordered only as a temporary measure in case of repeated petty offences connected with the use of a license or the management of an establishment.
In no case may these measures be imposed for a period exceeding six months. The Court shall determine their duration and scope.

Article 761- Principal Cases Where Confiscation and Suspension are Applicable.

The measures of confiscation to the State, withdrawal of a license, suspension or closing of an establishment shall be ordered in cases of:
(a)    fiscal or administrative matters (Arts. 784-791);
(b)    press and publication matters (Arts. 804 and 812);
(c)    control of firearms and ammunition, fire, explosive or dangerous substances (Arts. 808 and 829);
(d)    control of inns and places of entertainment (Arts. 820-821);
(e)    control of public health such as unlawful making or sale of toxic or narcotic substances, drugs and medicines, alcohol, beverages, food stuffs or goods in general (Arts. 818 and 831-834).

Article 762- Prohibitions and Restrictions upon Liberty Affecting Persons.

(1)    A prohibition from resorting to certain places conducive to the commission of an offence or further petty offences (Art. 145) may be ordered by the Court in cases where such prohibition appears to be justified, in particular where there has been recidivism or where recidivism is likely.
The duration of such prohibition shall be fixed in the judgment, and in any case shall not exceed a maximum period of six months.
(2)    Other measures restrictive of personal liberty, such as prohibition to reside in a place, obligatory residence, placing under supervision, withdrawal of official papers or expulsion (Arts. 146-150) may not be ordered in respect to a person who committed a petty offence.


Article 763- Notice to the Authority Concerned and Publication.

(1)    Notice shall be given by the Court to the competent authority (art. 154) whenever such a notice seems to be justified.
(2)    Judgments shall be published (Art. 155) when a public or private interest so requires.

Article 764- Entry into the Register of judgments.

(1)    Entry in the judgment register (Art. 156) shall be ordered in respect of sentences for petty offences which are final, so that the Courts may be fully informed of the antecedents of an accused person.
(2)    Such communications are subject to the provisions regarding crimes (Art. 156)


Article 765- Exclusion of Suspension and Conditional Release.

The provisions concerning the suspension of the pronouncement of sentence or the enforcement of the penalty as well as those regarding conditional release (Arts. 190-200) shall not apply to petty offences by reason of their formal nature and the fact that the punishment imposed should be uniformly and rapidly enforced.

Article 766- Extenuation of the penalty.

(1)    Where circumstances warrant a reduction of the penalty (Art. 745(1)) the Court may, instead of arrest, impose compulsory work or a fine. It shall be bound by the ordinary minimum provided by law.
The extent or amount shall be determined according to the degree of guilt of the petty offender.
(2)    In cases of minor gravity, where the offence committed appears trifling, and notably in cases of a first offence or mere imprudence, the Court may confine itself to inflicting a reproof, a reprimand, or a warning for the future.

Article 767- Ordinary Aggravation of the Penalty.

In the case of general aggravating circumstances (Art. 745(2)) the penalty shall be fixed in a more severe manner within the limits provided by law (Art. 183).

Article 768- Aggravation in case of Concurrence.

(1)    In case of material concurrence of petty offences the particular penalties determined for each of them shall be added and pronounced. The aggregate penalty may exceed the ordinary maximum penalty fixed in Article 747 or 752. However, the penalty of arrest may not exceed one year and fine may not exceed Birr one thousand and two hundred Birr.
Fine may not exceed five thousand Birr in respect of a juridical person.
(2)    In the case of notional concurrence, the Court may increase the penalty as provided by the general rule (Art. 187).

Article 769- Aggravation in Case of Recidivism.

(1)    Recidivism shall not be taken into account where at the time of the new petty offence to be tried, a period of one year has elapsed since the penalty imposed for the previous petty offence whatever its nature was enforced in whole or in part or remitted by pardon or limitation.
(2)    In the case of recidivism the Court shall not be bound by the ordinary maximum of the penalty prescribed for the new petty offence. When circumstances and the degree of guilt so justify and, in particular, in cases of persistent repetition of the same offence it may impose a penalty up to double the legal maximum provided for the various penalties (Arts. 747 and 752).

Article 770- Concurrence and Recidivism.

When there is at the same time concurrence of petty offences and recidivism the fines shall be fixed in accordance with the two preceding provisions. However, arrest may not exceed two years, and fine may not exceed two thousand four hundred Birr in the case of physical persons, and ten thousand Birr in respect of juridical persons.


Article 771- Prosecution.

(1)    The prosecution of violations of the provisions of this Code or of special laws or regulations shall be governed by the following directives:
(a)    petty offences against the person of another, his freedom or honour, or against private property, shall be prosecuted and punished only on a complaint lodged by the injured party, his representative or those having rights from him, duly authorized by law.
(b)    breaches of laws, orders, regulations and directives of administrative or executive authorities shall be prosecuted and punished on complaint by the Authority concerned.
(c)    Other breaches shall be prosecuted ex officio by the public prosecutor in accordance with the directives of Criminal Procedure.
(2)    The prosecution of purely military petty offences shall be governed by Military Law.

Article 772- Conditions as to Complaint.

Where the law requires that a complaint be lodged as a condition precedent to the prosecution of a petty offence (Art. 771) the general provisions governing conditions, time-limit and right to lodge such a complaint shall apply (Arts. 211-213).

Article 773- Limitation.

In the case of petty offences of any nature whatsoever the right to prosecution shall be statute-barred after one year, and the sentence passed after two years.
The general provisions relating to the beginning, suspension, interruption and absolute end of the limitation periods (Arts. 219 – 222 and 225 – 228) shall apply.

Article 774- Pardon and Amnesty.

Penalties imposed in respect of petty offences may be cancelled by a pardon or an amnesty on the usual conditions laid down in the Criminal Code (Arts. 229-231).

Article 775- Reinstatement.

An offender who is sentenced to a penalty shall as of right be reinstated after one year has elapsed since the penalty was undergone in whole or in part or barred by limitation, or remitted by pardon.