• Mizan Law Review

St. Mary's University College
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Mizan Law Review publishes peer reviewed scholarly articles that identify, examine, explore and analyze legal and related principles, stipulations and concepts based on research findings. Mizan’s articles aim at interpretation, description, exploration and diagnosis towards the solution of problems (or legal issues) including proactive critique and projection that assist the development of laws.

Latest documents

  • Public Interest Environmental Litigation in Ethiopia: Factors for its Dormant and Stunted Features

    Public interest environmental litigation (PIEL) has been introduced into the Ethiopian legal system since 2002 with the prime purpose of facilitating and complementing the environmental protection efforts of the country. However, little progress has been recorded in utilizing this innovative litigation tool. The purpose of this article is to examine the legal and policy frameworks for PIEL and investigate some of the main factors impeding its effective use for the promotion and protection of the environment rights in Ethiopia. Laws related to PIEL are examined and interviews and discussions with the relevant stakeholders are conducted with regard to environmental management in Ethiopia. I argue that even though the legal and policy framework for PIEL, with all its limitations, is in pla...

  • Globalization of Patent Laws through Trade Agreements, and Pressures on Ethiopia's Patent Regime: The Passenger behind the Wheel

    Given that patent law emerged in domestic systems, there was an obvious diversity of patent regimes. With the advent of cross-border movement of resources, including inventions, there was a need for a harmonized patent regime. The issue went to another level with the entry into force of the WTO/TRIPS Agreement, which requires WTO members to enact new patent laws or amend existing ones to make them TRIPS compliant. The Ethiopian Patent Law, which was enacted in 1995, is strangely TRIPS compliant, tempting many to think that it had Ethiopia‟s forthcoming accession in mind. However, with Ethiopia yet to complete the accession process, there are further pressures from industrialized countries to ensure that stringent patent rules are complied with in developing countries. This article exami...

  • The Right to Political Party Membership in Ethiopia: On the Freedom to Join and Resign

    The FDRE Constitution acknowledges the right to freedom of political party membership. Similarly, the Political Parties Registration Proclamation, which regulates the details of political party membership, allows a political party member to withdraw from his/her membership at any time. The form of withdrawal, however, has become contentious. In Unity for Justice and Democracy Party -versus- Blue Party (a case finally adjudicated by the Cassation Bench of the Federal Supreme Court), the petitioner, claimed that a person cannot be member of another political party without a written withdrawal notice to his/her former political party. The respondent political party, on its part, argued that withdrawal from membership and taking membership in another political party is possible at any time....

  • Constitutional Adjudication by Parliaments: Lessons from Comparative Experience

    This article explores historical experiences in France and Brazil and the contemporary constitutional set-up in China where parliaments are empowered to adjudicate constitutional issues. It also identifies the lessons thereof for the constitutional design in Ethiopia. Comparison among three legal regimes has been made with regard to the rationales and contexts under which legislative or non-legislative parliaments were entrusted with the power of interpreting constitutions. The experience in France (1799 to 1946), Brazil (1824-1891) and China‟s current practice in constitutional interpretation are examined. The experiences across time in different jurisdictions are used to analyze the extent to which (non-)legislative assemblies are appropriate organs to adjudicate constitutional issues...

  • Res Nullius vs. Res Communis in Matters of Communal Lands of Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia

    Communal land is among the key factors in the enhancement of rural livelihood because it enables mixed farming practices. Although communal lands are prime sources of livelihood in rural farming communities, empirical evidence shows gaps in their legal recognition and protection in Ethiopia. There are encroachments which include government intrusion, informal land sale, distribution, and handing out land (selling communal land in informal markets) as Kebele’s contribution for development projects. These factors entrench poverty by sidelining the rural poor at the grassroots whose life is anchored on these lands. These problems also entail violation of human rights of the rural population. This article interrogates the misconception which tends to consider communal lands (customary land ...

  • The Influence of the UN Watercourses Convention on the Development of the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA)

    The 1997 UN Watercourses Convention has influenced the development of many bilateral and multilateral international water agreements. There is ongoing debate on the extent to which the Watercourses Convention has influenced the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA). In this article, the author examines the interface between Watercourses Convention and CFA on some of the most contentious issues therein. It is argued that the Watercourses Convention has (in spite of various criticisms) greatly influenced the development of CFA in terms of the substantive and procedural contents of the agreement. The influence of the Watercourses Convention is more visible in shaping some of the major substantive principles such as the general obligation to cooperate, the principle of equi...

  • Challenges of Ethnic Representation in Ethiopia and the Need for Reform

    Although the Ethiopian federal dispensation legitimizes political participation based on ethnic identity, the arrangement, both through design and political practice, has led to the skewed representation of ethnic groups. The article examines these challenges and argues that in addition to the existing electoral system, difficulties pertaining to the holding of free and fair elections, ethnic voting, the role of political parties and majoritarian decision-making procedures have severely undermined the effective political participation of ethnic communities. Moreover, the manner in which electoral constituencies are formed largely benefit the politically and numerically dominant ethnic group thereby undermining the representation of ethnic minorities. Yet, in some cases, notwithstanding ...

  • Declaration of Principles on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: Some Issues of Concern

    The Nile Basin has long been noted as a potential flashpoint for resource conflict on account of the prevalence of inequitable water utilization and acrimonious inter-riparian relations. The basin’s proneness to conflict has been exacerbated by the absence of an inclusive legal and institutional framework governing the utilization and management of its meager water resources. Unilateralism and incompatible riparian claims negating the fundamentals of international water law still continue to be the defining features of the basin. Launched in such a setting, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) constitutes a significant counter-hegemonic measure capable of inducing a positive transformation in the basin’s inequitable status quo. A lasting solution which would ensure the equitable a...

  • Index: Mizan Law Review (Vol. 1 to 10)

  • Rethinking Plea Bargaining Policy: The Case of Ethiopia

    This article examines the desirability of plea bargaining in Ethiopia focusing on its policy justifications as encapsulated under the 2011 FRDE Criminal Justice Policy. Emphasizing upon the specific contexts of Ethiopia, the article analyzes policy documents, laws and comparative literature. The policy relies on the traditional rationales of plea bargaining. However, most of the elements in the rationales are under continuous criticism, and thus not compelling. The exception could be the efficiency rationale which presumably has a special force in attracting developing economies like Ethiopia. Yet in actuality, this is not as compelling as imagined at least on two fronts. First, the rationale is divorced from being principled in that lack of resources or the desire to spare resources ca...

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