Some Remarks on
Ethiopia’s New Cybercrime Legislation
Kinfe Micheal Yilma
Ethiopia has been enacting various pieces of legislation, since recently, to regulate
some aspects of the digital environment. The Cybercrime Proclamation of 2016
(Computer Crime Proclamation No.958/2016) is the most recent addition to the
legal regime that criminalizes a range of cybercrimes. It has also introduced a
number of novel evidentiary and procedural rules that will assist in the investigation
and prosecution of cybercrimes. The law has, however, attracted criticisms from
various corners mainly owing to some of its human rights unfriendly provisions.
This piece provides brief comments on the cybercrime legislation and highlights
some of the challenges that lie ahead in the course of implementing the law.
Cybercrime, computer crime, the right to privacy, illegal online content, procedural
Introduction: Ethiopia’s new cybercrime legislation
Ethiopia introduced the first set of cybercrime rules with the enactment of the
Criminal Code in 2004. The Code criminalizes a set of three cybercrimes
namely ‘hacking’, ‘dissemination of malware’ and ‘denial of service attacks
(DoS)’.1 Several cybercrimes have been perpetrated against the Ethiopian
cyberspace since the enactment of the computer crimes rules, but there currently
are only a few reported court cases.2 In 2013, Ethiopia’s cyber command –
Kinfe Micheal Yilma, Doctoral Candidate and teaching fellow, Melbourne Law School,
The University of Melbourne, Australia; LLB (Addis Ababa University), LLM (University
of Oslo), LLM (Brunel University London). Lecturer-in-Law, Addis Ababa University
School of Law, Ethiopia (On study leave).
Thanks are due to Selamm BR Abraham and Halefom Hailu for comments and for
availing valuable information. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 See Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Federal Negarit
Gazeta, Proclamation No. 414/2004, Arts 706-711.
2 For a discussion on major cybercrime incidents in Ethiopia until mid-2014, see Kinfe
Micheal Yilma (2014), ‘Developments in Cybercrime Law and Practice in Ethiopia’, 30