Practice Relating to Rule 101. The Principle of Legality
Ethiopia’s Criminal Code (2004) states:
Article 2.- Principle of Legality.
(2) The Court may not treat as a crime and punish any act or omission which is not prohibited by law.
The Court may not impose penalties or measures other than those prescribed by law.
(3) The Court may not create crimes by analogy.
(4) The above provisions shall not prevent the Court from interpreting the law. In cases of doubt the Court shall interpret the law according to its spirit, in accordance with the meaning intended by the legislature so as to achieve the purpose it has in view.
Article 5.- Non-retrospective Effect of Criminal Law.
(1) If an act, declared to be a crime both under the repealed legislation and this Code was committed prior to the coming into force of this Code, it shall be tried in accordance with the repealed law.
(2) An act declared to be a crime under this Code but not under the repealed law and committed prior to the coming into force of this Code is not punishable.
(3) No act shall be tried or punished where it was a crime committed under the repealed legislation but is not declared so to be under this Code. If proceedings have been instituted they shall be discontinued.
Article 6.- Exception: Application of the More Favourable Law.
Where the criminal is tried for an earlier crime after the coming into force of this Code, its provisions shall apply if they are more favourable to him than those in force at the time of the commission of the crime.
The Court shall decide in each case whether, having regard to all the relevant provisions, the new law is in fact more favourable.
Article 9.- Enforcement of Judgments passed under Repealed Legislation.
Where a sentence has been passed in accordance with the repealed legislation its enforcement shall be governed by the following principles:
(1) If the Code no longer restrains the act in respect of which the sentence was passed the punishment shall no longer be enforceable or shall forthwith cease to have effect.
(2) Where a sentence has been passed for the breach of a criminal law enacting a prohibition or an obligation limited to a given period of time for special reasons of a transitory nature, the expiration of the said period shall not bar the enforcement of the punishment, nor shall the prosecution be barred by such expiration.
Article 15.- Crimes Committed in a Foreign Country by a Member of the Defence Forces.
(2) In cases of crimes against international law and specifically military crimes as defined in Article 269–322, the member of the Defence Forces shall remain subject to national law and be tried under the provisions of this Code by Ethiopian military courts.