P.O. Box 5675, Berkeley, CA 94705 USA Torture as a Method of Suppressing Political Dissent in Selected Emerging Democracies in Eastern Africa
Human Rights Council
Agenda Item: Special Procedures – Special Rapporteur on Torture
Simeneh Kiros Assefa, Frank C. Newman Intern
Representing Human Rights Advocates through
University of San Francisco School of Law’s
International Human Rights Clinic
Professor Connie de la Vega
The practice of torture for the purpose of routine investigation is as old as the history of criminal justice. In modern times, as it is ascertained that torture is not a test of truth as it is a test of physical and moral strength; thus, there have been concerted efforts to prevent torture. Despite those efforts, however, torture continues as a means to deter political dissent.
This report focuses on torture as a means of suppressing political dissent in emerging democracies. “Emerging democracies” in this essay is used to refer to those states that underwent totalitarian and brutal regimes to the path to democracy, at least as they call themselves. For instance, Ethiopia adopted a multiparty system after the demise of the single, socialist party system in 1991; Uganda adopted the multiparty system by referendum in 2005; and Eritrea got its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. While this report focuses on selected Eastern African countries, they are examples for situations that exist in other parts of the world.
The first two sections of this report address the exercise of democratic rights of citizens, followed by analysis of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatments. In the following sections the violations of the prohibition of torture, the context in which torture is committed, and the institutions involved in the act are examined, along with the various methods of torture, the places of detention that make victims vulnerable to torture, and the absence of local remedies are highlighted. Finally, recommendations are forwarded in order to address the issue of torture and democratic rights to some extent.
The Exercise of Democratic Rights
The right of citizens to take part in the conduct of public affairs and in their government either directly or indirectly1 is a classical political right recognized both in the various international instruments2 and domestic laws of these states under consideration.3 This right can effectively be exercised only along with other rights such as the right to assembly, association, freedom of opinion, expression and the media,4 among others. This right not only requires the government to refrain from engaging in activities that impede the exercise of the right, but it also requires that the government create opportunities for citizens to participate in the affairs of their government.5
Those countries which are in transition democracies have different social, political and economic challenges. When governments in power fail to deliver those social and economic demands, it is to the advantage of the public the incumbent leave office to give way to other candidates who promise to deliver. Democracy in those emerging democracies is not, therefore, a mere exercise of political power; it is a means of alleviating poverty, ushering economic growth and an exercise of self-determination in multi-ethnic and multi-lingual and multi-religious countries such as these countries under consideration.
Democratic rights are recognized both by international and domestic laws, including those of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda.6 Ethiopia had a government change in 1974 by a coup d’état (locally called “revolution”), and that government was in turn deposed from power by a rebel group in 1991. Eritrea, for the most part, as it had been a part of Ethiopia, has the same story as the latter has, save it came into existence in 1993 by a referendum that separated it from Ethiopia.
Uganda was under the infamous regime of Idi Amin Dada until it was deposed by a rebel group led by Yuweri Musevini in 1986, a government which is still in power. In the early days of their reign, the leaders of the three countries were considered and treated as the new breeds of democratic leaders because these countries declared the traditional rule that governments come to and get removed from power by the barrel to be over. The constitutions of the respective countries set the rules of the game to level the play field. Ethiopia held national parliamentary election in 2000 and 2005; Uganda held its presidential election in 2001 and 2006; Eritrea had at least a referendum that separates it from Ethiopia.7
Despite the low level of awareness, the political participation of the public in those countries in political campaigns and rallies and voters’ turn out is amazing.8 The incumbent governments are also in the race, but when they lose they are no longer pleased with the process. Thus, they engage in other unlawful activities;9 torture being their worst choice. Torture is not necessarily chosen by the leaders of the ruling party; it is rather tolerated. There were reports where torture is committed, but they are consistently denied by the respective governments. Perpetrators are not prosecuted and are not even questioned.10
The Prohibition of Torture
It is stating the obvious that torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (“ill-treatments”)11 is prohibited by a number of international and regional instruments.12 The importance of this right is evidenced by the fact that the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, the Committee against Torture, and the Special Rapporteur on Torture have been striving in order to combat torture.13
Some of the countries discussed in this essay are parties to the Convention against Torture while others are not. The prohibition of torture, however, has attained the status of preemptory norm (jus cogens) in international law along with few other principles such as the prohibition of apartheid and slavery,14 indicating that there is no tolerance to such practice.
Most importantly, the prohibition of torture is included in the constitutions of those emerging democracies. Because these countries have passed through their respective ordeals and the constitutions are modern, they have had the advantage of time to incorporate the prohibition in clear terms. For instance, the Uganda Constitution provides that “No person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”15 In the same parlance, the Ethiopian Constitution provides that “Everyone has the right to protection against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”16 The Eritrean constitution also incorporates similar provisions.17
The constitution of Uganda, in correcting the brutal practice of Idi Amin’s regime, not only prohibits torture, it further affirms that persons may be detained only in places designated by law.18 In the Ethiopian and Eritrean laws, although there is no express provision to that effect, the plain reading of the criminal procedure indicates that (civilian) persons shall be arrested in police stations or prisons the only two institutions established by law to house those persons.19 Nonetheless, in these countries under consideration, there are reports indicating torture is widely practiced not only for a routine investigation of ordinary crimes but also as a method of silencing opposition.20
Violation of the Prohibition Against Torture and Democratic Rights
The change in the political landscape in the countries under consideration led to the constitutional recognition of the right of citizens to participate in the affairs of their government and encourages citizens to actively participate in the political process. The respective constitutions further incorporate the freedom from torture and ill-treatments. However, candidates and their supporters are subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment by the police, army, and security forces.21 This is the case both during campaign, during election and afterwards.22
Both Ethiopia and Uganda have held two national parliamentarian and presidential elections, respectively. In those elections pre and post election incidents resulting in death and maiming of many as well as the destruction of property recorded.23 The government often places the blame of these acts on the opposition.24 After the elections, the governments often engaged in various unlawful activities. In some of these countries, in incidents related to election campaign and rallies, and consequent conflicts between police and opposition supporters, many died, many more wounded, property destroyed, and people were arrested by thousands.25 Many people were tortured for alleged membership and support to opposition political parties26 even after more than a year had elapsed since the election.27 Sometimes, the torture results in death;28 and sometimes those tortured are kept under detention until their wounds heal.29 The incident of torture is increasing30 and torture for reasons of political opinion and support for opposition is a significant part of that increase.31Those released from detention are made to sign a pledge disavowing participation in supporting or rallying for the opposition.32
Eritrea got its independence from Ethiopia in 1993 by a referendum of the Eritrean people. Since then, it has never held elections and the only political party that is allowed to exist is the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), formerly known as Eritrean Peoples’ Liberation Front.33 When members of the public and government ministers demand election, they are detained and continue to be held under indefinite solitary confinement in unspecified place without any criminal charge.34 In 2001 the government assaulted the media and civil society.35 As of now, there is very little known about the human rights situation in Eritrea but it is reported that, of those 31 leaders and journalists arrested, nine of them are said to have died, one from suicide.36
Methods of Torture
Torture takes different forms from the most incomprehensible cruelty to that closer to ill-treatment. The worst methods of torture include removing nail with a pliers,37 caning with batons, electric shock, hanging an object on the male genitalia, twisting and physical mutilation, Kandoya,38 water torture,39 prolonged exposure to the sun under high temperature40 and beating on the feet while tied up side down.41 Women victims are subjected to sexual assault including rape.42 After all that is undergone, some are made to stay in detention until their physical wound heals so that they may not go out public,43 some are made to sign a pledge disavowing opposition.44
Impunity created a dangerous tendency that the various methods of torture are given common names otherwise known. The water torture in Uganda is called “Liverpool.”45 In Eritrea “helicopter” is a method of torture where the prisoner is placed face down, hands tied to feet while Almaz or “diamond” refers to the torture where the person is suspended from trees with his arms tied behind his back.46 These are acts are often worse that what is committed when law and order has broken down.
The Context in which Torture is Occurs and the Institutions Involved
It needs to be noted that when torture is used to deter political dissent, it is used when there is a fierce political competition (or opposition) challenging the establishment. In such situation, the incumbent demonizes the opposition; usually labeling the opposition as “terrorists” for international use, while locally they are portrayed as a group attempting to usurp power in an illegal and unconstitutional means or as an armed (rebel) group thereby to deny them the support of the public.47 In Ethiopia they are labeled as members of the National Patriotic Front, Oromo Liberation Front, or other groups depending on the locality in which such groups are believed to have influence.48 In Uganda they are alleged to be members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) or other groups.49 In Eritrea those arrested were labeled as “spies, traitors and foreign agents” as the war with its neighbor, Ethiopia was in progress.50 In fact, no other party is allowed to exist other than the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) that any other group or association is illegal. Thus, any association with such group comes with a price.51 It also gives the government a legal fiction to arrest and prosecute those individuals at least making their life difficult until the proceeding is over which in all likelihood would free them.
Torture is committed by institutions that are lawfully established for the maintenance of law and order such as the police and the armed forces.52 The worst forms of torture are committed also by special ad hoc bodies established under the guise of a particular situation usually accountable to one person- the President or the Prime Minister.53
Places of Detention
Torture, horrendous as it is, cannot be seen in isolation. Normally it is committed in the countryside out of the reach of the international eyes in the cities.54 When it is committed subsequent to arbitrary arrest, it is committed in inaccessible places because of secrecy,55 physical distance,56 or high guard such as military barracks.57 “Safe houses”, very little of which is known by the public in Uganda, are referred to as “torture houses” which stand in sharp contrast to legal requirements as the Constitution prohibits detaining persons in other than places designated by law. Such safe houses are said to be established in 1998 by “a committee of national security agencies” to interrogate individuals suspected of “treason and terrorism…in a quiet environment and minimizing chances of the suspects being influenced by outside forces.”58
In Ethiopia, the Maikelawi (Central Investigation Department which is meant for investigation of serious offences and mainly political offences) where visits are rarely granted to detainees in is very much like the safe houses in Uganda.59 “Unknown” and “distant” places in Eritrea are common in every human rights report.60 Sometimes with the view to conducting torture, such victims are transported to a special detention facility where such act is made possible.61
It is by far less blameworthy not to let visitors to see the prisoners than to let others see the acts of torture. These “new democrats” would be blamed only for not giving access to visit instead of being labeled as “torturers.”
The Effects of Torture
Torture exacts physical, moral, economic and social consequences on the victim.62 Victims are under constant fear because in not few cases they are released on condition that they will not participate in such activities as political support and rallies.63 In fear of the negative implications, neighbors, friends and relatives avoid such persons.64 They also live in poverty either because they are dismissed from their jobs, their licenses are revoked or their businesses are closed, etc.65 The act ultimately affects the democratic process and the rights of citizens to bring about a meaningful difference in their lives.
Lack of Local Remedies
It was alluded to earlier that torture is prohibited both in international law and in the domestic law of these countries. Despite those prohibitions in the law, however, there are no effective remedies for those victims of torture at the local level. The reasons for absence of local remedies are overwhelmingly complicated. In fact, it is related to not only the rules and institutions of the law enforcement but also with the culture of impunity.
On the normative level, although torture and ill-treatments are prohibited, the domestic law does not (sufficiently) define what torture and/or ill-treatments are.66 In the domestic law where there is no clear provision on the enforcement of the prohibition, the court would have resort to various methods of interpretation. Short of other rules of interpretation, where there is a convention on the matter to which the country is a party, it stands to reason that the court can have resort to such convention with a view to discharge the intentional obligation of the state. This is particularly so where such convention forms parts of the corps of the domestic law of the land.67
However, both the direct application and the interpretative application of the treaty is technically limited for different practical reasons. For instance, because the full content of such convention is not published in the official gazette many argue such convention does not have direct application.68 Unlike Uganda where the official language is English,69 the official/working languages in Ethiopia and Eritrea are various local languages such as Amharic, Tigrigna and Oromifa. Thus, it is understandable that there is a language barrier to access the convention whose application is further undermined.70
At the domestic level, the major tool of enforcement of human rights norms is criminal law. Unlike the Uganda criminal law where there is total lack of such a provision,71 the Ethiopia Penal Code provides that where a public servant72 “improperly induces or gives a promise, threatens or treats [a] person …[under his custody] in an improper or brutal manner, or in a manner which is incompatible with human dignity or his office, especially by the use of blows, cruelty or physical or mental torture, … is punishable with simple imprisonment or fine, or in serious cases, with rigorous imprisonment nor exceeding ten years and fine.”73 The Eritrean Penal Code contains similar provisions.74
The important law enforcement agency is the police which unfortunately is also the principal and active participant in the practice of torture. However, as the investigation is to be conducted by a fellow police officer who has the same duty, it could not happen. It is thus, virtually impossible to investigate itself while at the same time there is no such intention whatsoever on the part of the leaders because impunity is the culture.75 In the Ethiopian and Eritrean legal system, even though he has the power, the public prosecutor never investigates offences, which is a major limitation to prosecution of such cases and as a consequence of which there is no prosecution of such perpetrators.76
With respect to civil claims for such violations of rights, the civil code of Ethiopia and Eritrea provides that it is an actionable fault where a person infringes “any specific or explicit provision of a law, decree or administrative regulation.”77 Where the actor is aware of the illegal nature of his acts, superior order is no defense.78 For convenience reasons, the law makes the state liable to victims where the offender is a government employee, provided the fault it committed while in the exercise of the profession and is not personal fault.79 The Ugandan Constitutions makes it clear that such person is “entitled to compensation from that other person or authority.”80 Similar provision is contained in the Eritrean Constitution.81
However, there is little or no remedy is afforded for various reasons. As indicated earlier, the victims are often poor, illiterate ordinary citizens of these countries who are struggling everyday to make a living.82 It is those people who are confronted with an inaccessible, weak, inefficient and non-responsive justice system. It is also impractical to expect a torture victim, who, after undergoing such ordeal, is released from detention up on signing a pledge that disavowing the opposition, to go to court to demand remedy. They can only be putting themselves to further vulnerability by indicating that they are still an active opponent. The problems of lack of resources and rights consciousness by the victim is compounded by the timidity of the lawyers to bring such cases, or of courts themselves to make a ruling against the government on such politically charged cases.83 It is not within the scope of this report to examine the independence of the judiciary in these countries, but the indications are in the negative. There is no evidence that opposition party leader and supporters that have undergone such ordeals have obtained a remedy. Instead, their cases linger before the courts.84
Although the Ugandan judiciary is by far more independent from an outsider’s view, there is executive interference in the judiciary which at times uses a heavy hand including heavy police force presence on the premises of the court in important cases.85 The government regularly defies court orders86 including effecting payment of compensation awarded to victims of torture.87
In addition, the Uganda Human Rights Commission, one of the independent national human rights commissions in the region, is in difficult situation since it has received increasing torture complaints. While its decision has the status of a court order,88 the government is not complying with its recommendations.89 The independence and effectiveness of the recently established human rights commission in Ethiopia is yet to be tested. The situation in Eritrea is far different since the human rights situation is not accessible to assessment.90
Mindful of the efforts exerted so far, but also taking into consideration the gravity of the issue, Human Rights Advocates calls upon the Council:
With respect to the Special Rapporteur on Torture to:
request the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Torture be extended;
encourage the Special Rapporteur on Torture to look into the relationship between torture and political participation.
with respect to states’ obligations to:
encourage states to comply with their international obligations;
urge member states to make declarations under Article 22 of the Convention making individual complaint procedure applicable; and
encourage states to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
with respect to practical matters to:
convince states to legally designate places of detention, out of which it is unlawful to detain persons other than in such designated places;
convince member states that persons that are lawfully detained be detained in the places where they reside at the time of their detention;
encourage states to take the necessary legislative and administrative measures both in terms of defining the practice of torture and investigation, documentation and prosecution of the practice;
advise states to afford effective remedies to victims;
encourage states to make it possible to invoke the Convention before local courts; and
encourage and follow up the translation of the Convention in to local languages and handing out to law enforcement officials.
1 Art 21, UDHR; Art 25, ICCPR
2 M. Nowak, UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights CCPR Commentary (Strasbourg: N. P. Publisher, 1993) p 436
3 Art 20, the Constitution of the State of Eritrea, 1997; Art 38 FDR Ethiopian Constitution, 1995; Art 38, The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995.
4 Arts 20, 19, UDHR; Art 19 -22, ICCPR
5 Nowak Supra n. 2, p 436
6 Supra n. 4
7 There had been other election before these two elections mentioned; these two elections are fairly contested by opposition parties or candidates.
8 For instance voters’ turn out in Ethiopia was 90% and 82.6% of the registered vote in 2000 and 2005 at ; in Uganda it was 70.3% and 68% for the year 2001 and 2006, respectively at (last accessed on 28 February 2008).
9 The major treachery was a regular change of law to exclude certain categories of persons either from running for a public office or from voting. Ethiopia is a case in point.
10 HRW (2004) Infra n. 21; “Uganda” in U.S. State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2004 at (last accessed 29 February 2008); EHRCO (2007) The Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia, 28th Regular Report at (last accessed on 29 February 2008)
11 The Committee against Torture referred to them as “ill-treatments” collectively. General Comment No 2, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT/C/GC/2/CPR.1/Rev.4, 23 November 2007)
13 The adoption of various resolutions by the General Assembly, such as the Code of Conduct for the Law Enforcement Officials in 1979, and later on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in 2007, the Adoption of the Optional Protocol to the CAT which creates the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and provides for visit to places of detention; the relentless examination of states’ reports conducts by the Committee against Torture, constructive dialogue with states, the Special Rapporteur’s visits to countries in response to urgent appeals from persons who are in risk of torture are the main examples.
14 CAT General Comment No 2 Supra n. 11
15 Art 24, the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995
16 Art 18, FDRE Constitution, 1995
17 Art 16(2), the Constitution of the State of Eritrea, 1997
18 Art 23(2)
19 Art 60 of the Ethiopian Criminal Procedure Code of 1961 (which is also the Eritrean Transitional Code of Criminal Procedure by proclamations No. 5/1991) provides that arrested persons “shall be detained on conditions prescribed by the law relating to prison” indicating both the place and condition of detention.
20 See for example B. J. Oppenheimer (2005), “From Arrest to Release: The Inside Story of Uganda’s Penal System” in 16 Ind. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 117; Amnesty International (2006), Torture at (last accessed 3 February 2008); Ethiopian Human Rights Council (hereinafter EHRCO) (2007) The Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia, 27th Regular Report at (last accessed on 2 February 2008)
21 Human Rights Watch (2004) Uganda: Torture Used to Deter Opposition at (last accessed on 3 February 2008);Oppenheimer Supra n. 20; Human Rights Watch (2006) Ethiopia: Hidden Crackdown in Rural Areas at (last accessed on 2 February 2008)
22 This is the case both in Ethiopia and in Uganda. Many of the human rights reports cited in this report (notes 10, 20, 21, 24, 27 and 28) indicate that the tortures and ill-treatments are committed more than a year lapsed after the election.
23 “Ethiopia” US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 at (last accessed 2 February 2008); in Ethiopia for instance, the Independent Commission of Inquiry established by the Government established the fact that in the post election violence between the public and police and security forces, 193 people died and 765 maimed almost all of them from bullets for which so far no one has been prosecuted. “Ethiopia” in Amnesty International (2007) (accessed on 3 February 2008); HRW (2005) Infra n. 27
24 Members of the opposition leadership were charged for treason, genocide and crime against humanity, among others, for which almost all of them found to be guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. Amnesty International (2007) Ethiopian Prisoners of Conscience Jailed for Life (last accessed 1 February 2008)
25 “Ethiopia” Supra n. 23
26 Human Rights Watch (2005), Suppressing Dissent: Human Rights Abuses and Political Repression in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region at (last accessed on 2 February 2008)
27 EHRCO (2007) Supra n. 21; EHRCO (2007), Respect the Rule of Law, 103rd Special Report at (last accessed 2 February 2008)
28 EHRCO (2007), Torture of Detainees should be stopped! 99th Special Report at ; Human Rights Watch (2006), Uganda: Anti-Terror Unit Allegedly Electrocuted Detainee” at (last accessed on 2 February 2008)
29 EHRCO (2007), Supra n. 21
30 African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, ; Redress, Torture in Uganda: A Baseline Study on the Situation of Torture Survivors in Uganda at (last accessed at 2 February 2008)
31 Id.; Human Rights Watch (2004) The State of Pain: Torture in Uganda at (last accessed on 2 February 2008)
32 HRW (2006) Supra n. 21
33 Human Rights Watch (2006) Eritrea at (last accessed on 15 February 2008)
34 Id. Amnesty International (2006) Eritrea at (last accessed on 5 February 2008)
35 Human Rights Watch (2002) Eritrea: Cease Persecution of Journalists and Dissidents at (last accessed on 15 February 2008)
36 Human Rights Watch (2007) Eritrea: Events of 2006 at (last accessed on 15 February 2008)
37 EHRCO (2007) Supra n. 28
38 “Kandoya” is a method of torture tying the suspect’s hands and feet together behind the suspect’s back. Oppenheimer Supra n. 20, at note 65
39 This method of torture is commonly referred to as Liverpool where the suspect is forced to lie face up with his moth open under water spigot. Id. Note 66
40 “Eritrea” in U.S. State Department Human Rights Practices Report for 2005 at (last accessed on 5 February 2008)
41 AI (2007) Supra n. 23; Redress Supra n. 30, p 15
42 HRW (2004) Supra n. 31; Redress Supra n. 30
43 EHRCO (2007) Supra n. 21
44 Oppenheimer Supra n. 20
45 HRW (2006) Supra n. 21
46 HRW (2006) Supra n. 33
47 Both in the countries under consideration opposition party leaders are charged with some of the following serious offences: attempt to usurping power unconstitutionally, treason, genocide and crime against humanity. In Ethiopia, they are found to be guilty; in Eritrea, they are detained but not formally charged to stand trial; in Uganda the trial is pending.
48 HRW (2004) Supra n. 21; EHRCO (2007) Supra n. 21
49 Oppenheimer Supra n. 20; HRW (2004) Supra n. 19; Redress Supra n. 30
50 Human Rights Watch (2003) Eritrea: Human Rights Developments at (last accessed on 15 February 2008)
51 While the leaders are internationally renowned prominent personalities, often times they are not subjected to torture and worst forms of ill-treatment. Their supporters are the ones who are subjected to such evil.
52 Id. Also see the reports of Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) at ; HRW (2005) Supra n. 21
53 For instance in Uganda there are ad hoc bodies such as the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), the Joint Anti-Terrorist Task Force (JAFT), the Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU), formerly Operation Wembley, which are not necessarily unlawful. See for example Oppenheimer Supra n. 20
54 HRW (2005) Supra n. 21; HRW (2006) Supra n. 31; HRW (2002) Supra n. 35, and HRW (2007) Supra n. 36
55 For in stance in Uganda such places are called “safe-houses.” See Oppenheimer Supra n. 20; Redress Supra n. 30; HRW (2004) Supra n. 19
56 “Ethiopia” (2000) Supra n. 23; HRW (2006) Supra n. 21; EHRCO (2007) Supra n. 21
57 In all the countries under consideration, the military barracks are widely used places of detention for opposition party members. Oppenheimer Supra n. 20; Redress Supra n. 30; HRW (2006) Supra n. 21
58 Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, “Uganda: Uganda Young Democrats (UYD); treatment by the military and the police; formalities of joining; proof of membership issued; arrests in 1999-2000; detention in "safe houses," deaths attributed to torture in 2000” at (last accessed on 15 February 2008)
59 See for example EHRCO (2007) Respect the Rule of Law, 103rd Special Report at (last accessed 29 February 2008)
60 See, for example, HRW (2006) Supra n. 33; AI (2006) Supra n. 34
61 HRW (2006) Supra n. 21; HRW (2005) Supra n. 26;
62 Redress Supra n. 30
63 HRW (2006) Supra n. 21
64 Redress Supra n. 30
65 EHRCO (2007) Supra n. 20
66 In this regard, the Ugandan case is gross. Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/CR/34/UGA, 21 June 2005) at (last accessed on 29 February 2008)
67 For example the Ethiopian Constitution under Article 9 (4) provides that “international treaties to which Ethiopia is a party forms the domestic law of the land.” In Uganda the Foreign Policy Objective is based on the principle of “respect for international law and treaty obligations” (Art XXVIII (i)(b)).
68 Despite the fact that the Constitution provides that “All international agreements ratified by Ethiopia are an integral part of the law of the land”, the courts are not ready to apply the international Conventions for various reasons. Getachew Assefa “Problems of Implementing [International] Human Rights Laws by Ethiopian Courts” in Proceeding of the Symposium on the Role of Courts in the Enforcement of the Constitution (Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Civil Service College, 2000)
69 Art 6(1) the Constitution of Uganda
70 Getachew Supra n. 68
71 Redress Supra n. 30
72 The reference “public servant” under article 402 (of the Penal Code of Ethiopia) is used to refer to a person performing functions of the government in public office as an employee or appointee, also includes police according to the definition under Art 342.
73 Art 424(2)
74 Arts 410-426 Cum. 352 of the Transitional Penal Code of Eritrea
75 Human Rights Watch (2003), Lessons in Repression: Violations of Academic Freedom in Ethiopia, at (last accessed on 10 February 2008)
77 Art 2035, the Ethiopian Civil Code (1960) and the Eritrean Transitional Civil Code, as amended by Proclamation 2/1991
78 Art 2036
79 Art 2126
80 Article 23 (7)
81 Art 28 (2)
82 Redress Supra n. 30
83 Tsegaye Regassa “Courts and the Human Rights Norms in Ethiopia: An Overview” in Proceeding of the Symposium on the Role of Courts in the Enforcement of the Constitution (Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Civil Service College, 2000). In fact, the high turn over of judges in the federal court of Ethiopia is telling story.
84 See for example ; ; (last accessed on 29 February 2008)
85 Human Rights Watch (2007) Human Rights Watch’s Third Memorandum on Justice Issues and the Juba Talks Particular challenges for Uganda in conducting national trials for serious crimes (last accessed on 15 February 2008)
86 Human Rights Watch (2007) Uganda: Government Gunmen Storm High Court Again
< http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/03/05/uganda15449.htm> (last accessed 15 February 2008)
87 “Uganda” in U.S. State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practice for 2001 at (last accessed 5 February 2008)
88 Art 8 (2), Uganda Human Rights Commission Act, 1997