Tuesday, December 19
In the Name of...Justice?
Amidst reports of war and attempted negotiation with the political prisoners, life in Ethiopia is becoming far more confusing for this ferenj!
It seems that everyone has a different opinion regarding the outcome of the political trial these days, as the next court session (February 19, 2007) draws closer by the day. Some say that Meles must be under pressure from the international community to release the prisoners immediately, while others argue that the Americans need them to remain behind bars in order to successfully wage this proxy “War on Terror”. There are also those who suggest that, due to mounting civil dissent, the Prime Minister is left with no choice but to release the leaders (in hopes of rallying support for the war and preventing armed struggle); still others insist it cannot be that simple—and fear this dictator has something far more sinister up his sleeve.
Regardless, should the trial actually reach February’s scheduled hearing, a handful of men will be of particular interest; as much has already been disclosed about head Prosecutor Shemiels Kemal by far more competant bloggers here, I will stick with the three High Court Judges--Mohammad Abdulsani, Leul Gebremariam and Adil Ahmed.
Judge Mohammad seems to have the least suspicious CV of the three and is generally considered apolitical. Currently in is his late-30s, he graduated in law from the Civil Service College in Addis Ababa and practiced as a prosecutor in the SNNPR region for years before being appointed as a federal high court judge.
Judge Leul, the eldest of the three, is a law graduate from he night school program at Addis Ababa Univeristy (which, by the way, awards diplomas, not degrees) and began working immediately as a prosecutor for the Ministry of Justice. Within this instiution he quickly developed a reputation as the ‘right-hand-man’ of the EPRDF, and though he remained “officially” outside the heirarchy of civil service, he was able to control and direct operations (even ‘influencing’ the Minister himself!) due to his known government affiliation. During the 2000 election, he publicly campaigned for the EPRDF and was later controversially appointed as a judge on the Second Criminal Division of the Federal High Court (the bench where political hearings are usually conducted. Strangely, this judge is also known for carrying his personal gun with him to every court sesssion!)
The young Judge Adil, originally from the Harari region, also attended The Civil Service College. (It is important to note that during his time of study, the national education system was such that upon failure of the high-school national exam, entrance to public universities or colleges was denied--leaving the option of attending either a private college or The Civil Service College (widely-considered a pro-EPRDF, ‘cadre-development’ centre). Here he studied law and was appointed as a judge at the Harari Region High Court immediately upon graduation. Then (somewhat ‘miraculously’, considering his academic record!) he received a scholarship from the British Council to study at the esteemed Essex University, where he received his Masters degree in Human Rights Law (*%#&!!!!). After returning from study, he was named President of the Harari Region Supreme Court, and was later appointed President of the Federal High Court (after the former president left for study abroad).
Such dubious credentials clearly speak for themselves and so, it seems, no further comment is needed today. Ciao!