A SPECIAL URGENT REPORT
January 12, 1996
Ref. No. EHRCO/SUR/1/1996
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent
national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights
granted him by the constitution or by law.
Article 9(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia states that All international agreements
ratified by Ethiopia are an integral part of the laws of
Ethiopia. Article 9(2) of the Constitution states: All citizens,
government bodies, political parties and other associations and
their officials are bound by the constitution and have the duty
to ensure its observance. Article 25 of the Constitution further
states: All persons are equal before the law and are entitled
without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.
The law shall guarantee to all persons equal and effective
protection without discrimination...
In spite of these clear and other constitutional provisions,
action that will seriously damage the freedom of the judiciary
has been committed against a judge in the High Court in the
Southern Peoples' Region, in the Shakacho Zone. Ato Shacachew
Sheno, a High Court Judge and Vice President of the Court, issued
an arrest warrant in accordance with the law (Criminal Procedure
Code Art. 53) and the request of the police for the apprehension
of Ato Adinew Ayno, in charge of the Economic Section of Shakacho
Zone and presently representative of the Shakacho Zone in the
House of Representatives, and seven other persons for alleged
homicide. The arrest warrant issued to the police was in
accordance with the law and was written on June 4, 1994 (ref. no.
50/87). Because Ato Shachachew Sheno fulfilled his function as a
judge, he was suspended from the bench by a letter, ref. no. F
12/6024/87 on 1 August 1995 written and signed by Ato Adinew Ayno
who was then in charge of the economic section of Shakacho Zone
and presently a member of the House of Representatives. Ato
Adinew Ayno was clearly acting beyond his legal authority and
transgressing Article 79 of the Constitution which establishes
the independence of the judiciary.
Ato Shachachew Sheno has been seeking justice at all levels, from
the Regional Administration in Awasa to the House of
Representatives in Addis Ababa. So far he has not been able to
get any support from anywhere. In fact while he was seeking
justice in Awasa and Addis Ababa, an attempt was made to stop him
by detaining and torturing his wife, Weizero Amete-Mariam Garefo,
a teacher in Masha town. The authorities in Shakacho ordered her
detention and she was tortured by clamping her two hands in
screwable handcuffs made of steel rods. As a result her two hands
have been severely incapacitated. Finally, the authorities in
Shakacho have zeroed in on Ato Shachachew in Addis Ababa and
there are good reasons to believe they are attempting to abduct
him and take him back to Shakacho where they can do anything.
Only because Ato Shachachew was doing his duty as a judge, he was
suspended from his job by the very persons who are accused of
criminal offence; he fails to get support from the Regional
Administration and the House of Representatives; his wife is
tortured and her two hands incapacitated; and now he cannot find
security even in Addis Ababa where the very persons who are
accused of criminal offence are attempting to turn him into a
criminal. Ato Shachachew and his wife have seven young children.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Council appeals to the government
authorities to halt the harassment of Ato Shachachew and his
family and to serve justice.
All persons of goodwill, human rights organisations, governments
and international organisations, political and religious
institutions are urged to do whatever they can to help and stop
the repeated injustice committed against this father of seven
children and his wife.