Practice Relating to Rule 157. Jurisdiction over War Crimes
Ethiopia’s Penal Code (1957) provides with respect to a range of war crimes:
Any person who has committed in a foreign country:
(a) an offence against international law or an international offence specified in Ethiopian legislation, or an international treaty or a convention to which Ethiopia has adhered;
shall be liable to trial in Ethiopia in accordance with the provisions of this Code and subject to the general conditions mentioned hereinafter … unless he has been prosecuted in the foreign country.
Ethiopia’s Criminal Code (2004) states:
Sub-section II.- Subsidiary Application
Article 17.-Crimes Committed Outside Ethiopia Against International Law or Universal Order.
(1) Any person who has committed outside Ethiopia:
(a) a crime against international law or an international crime specified in Ethiopian legislation, or an international treaty or a convention to which Ethiopia has adhered …
shall be liable to trial in Ethiopia in accordance with the provisions of this Code and subject to the general conditions mentioned hereinafter (Arts. 19 and 20(2)) unless a final judgment has been given after being prosecuted in the foreign country.
(2) Nothing in this Article shall affect the provisions of Articles 14 and 15(2).
Article 19.- Conditions for Subsidiary Application.
(1) This Code shall apply where:
(a) the complaint by the victim or his dependants was lodged when it is a condition for prosecution under the law of the place of commission of the crime or under Ethiopian law;
(b) the criminal is within the territory of Ethiopia and has not been extradited, or extradition to Ethiopia was obtained by reason of the crime committed; and
(c) the crime was not legally pardoned in the country of commission and that prosecution is not barred either under the law of the country where the crime was committed or under Ethiopian law.
(2) The conditions specified under sub-article 1 (a) and (c) of this Article need not necessarily be satisfied as regards the kinds of crimes provided for under Article 17 and 18(2) of this Code.
(3) The prosecution shall consult with the Minister of Justice before instituting proceedings.
(4) In case of disparity between the punishments prescribed under this Code and the law of the country of commission, the punishment to be imposed shall be the one which is more favourable to the accused.
Article 20.- Effect of Foreign Sentences.
(1) In all cases where Ethiopian courts have a subsidiary jurisdiction only (Arts. 15(1), 17 and 18), the criminal cannot be tried and sentenced in Ethiopia if he was regularly acquitted or discharged for the same act in a foreign country.
The Criminal Code of 2004 repealed Ethiopia’s Penal Code of 1957.