Ethiopia: Directive for the Execution of the State of Emergency[full text]

A Directive issued on Saturday detailed the restrictions imposed as per the State of Emergency.

It is to be recalled a State of Emergency was decreed a week earlier by the Council of Ministers, as the Parliament was in recess.

The Decree, which will become a proclamation when approved by the parliament, had listed some eleven types of restrictions on rights and established a Command Post chaired by the Prime Minister.

The Command Post, whose members are chosen by the PM, was given the mandate to determine and announce which of the restrictions apply where and when. (See: Ethiopia: State of Emergency grants PM sweeping powers)

On Friday, the Council of Ministers issued a regulation that was meant to provide guidelines for the Command Post on the issuance of directives.

Subsequently, on Saturday, the Command Post issued the Directive for the Execution of the State of Emergency, which has 3 main parts and 31 articles.

HornAffairs provided an in-house translation of the directive – from Amharic to English – in light of readers’ interest. (Please give credit to HornAffairs if you use the following text in whole or in part)

Photo - Ethiopia Federal Police
Photo – Ethiopia Federal Police

A Directive for the Execution of the State of Emergency Issued by the State of Emergency Command Post

(as translated by HornAffairs)

[Note that this is a word-to-word translation. Any apparent ambiguity is likely to be original rather than translation error. For example, the directive uses the phrase “law enforcement organs” even though the context appears to be referring to the officers. We kept it as it is. We kept the exact wording and phrasing and ambiguities rather than interpreting/assuming the intent of the authors’ of the directive.]

Part One: Prohibited Act

Sub part one – Acts Prohibited Throughout the Country

1/ Incitement and communication that causes public disturbance and riots

Anything that causes disturbance, riot and causes suspicion and hostility among peoples:

– Overt and covert incitement in whatever form of expression; preparing, printing and distributing writings; through theatrical performance; by displaying signs or publicizing messages through any other means of communication; importing or exporting of any kind of publication without license to a foreign country;

– Exchange of messages through internet, mobile, in writing, television, radio, social media or any other means of communication

2/ Communicating with terrorist groups

Any communication with proscribed terrorist organizations and anti-peace groups;

– Possessing and distributing various writings of terrorist groups; possessing or promoting their logos;

– Following television or radio programs; displaying, following and reporting terrorist groups’ media such as ESAT and OMN is prohibited.

3/ Unauthorized demonstration and public gatherings

In the interests of protecting the peace and security of the people and citizens; conducting demonstration and public gatherings without permission from the Command Post is prohibited.

4/ Denial of Public service

– Shutting down any public utility or licensed commercial services, shops or governmental institutions, terminating their production or services, staging strikes or absence from work without good cause, deliberate underperformance;

– Intimidating and threatening the personnel of government and private firms to stop them from performing their regular works;

5/ Conducting strikes in educational institutions

Conducting strikes that disturb the learning and teaching and process; shutting down educational institutions or causing damage to these institutions is prohibited.

6/ Strikes in sport facilities

Stirring up disturbance and riot that are contrary to sport discipline in sporting facilities is prohibited.

7/ Obstructing vehicles’ movement

Obstructing the movement of vehicles, pedestrians and other forms of transport through road blocks, intimidation and other similar acts; service disruption; raising transport tariff; and abandoning the service route designated by the competent authority is prohibited.

8/ Damaging infrastructure and religious institutions

Causing damage, through any means, or looting any private, public and governmental establishment, investment and other economic infrastructure as well as religious institutions is prohibited.

9/ Disturbing public and national holidays

Disturbing or obstructing national and public holidays in any manner or propagating, by any means, political agendas and slogans unrelated to the holidays is prohibited

10/ Incitement in religious, cultural, and public holidays

In religious institutions, aside from conducting religious teachings and preaching, any incitement that causes suspicion and hostility among peoples, fear on the community and provokes disturbance and riot is prohibited.

11/ Obstructing law enforcement

Failure to comply with the orders given of law enforcement organs, obstructing their works, refusing to cooperate when requested to stop [the vehicle] or to be searched; defying police checkpoints is prohibited.

12/ Prohibited outfits

Wearing the uniforms of law enforcement organs, carrying or possessing at home, passing on to others or selling is prohibited.  

13/ Carrying weapons 

Carrying any armaments, blades or flammable materials in market places, religious institutions, into places of public holiday celebration or any public gathering is prohibited.

14/ Transferring arms to third party

Any officer of law enforcement organs or lawful owner of a firearm is prohibited from transferring the firearm to a third party, under any circumstances.

15/ Acts against tolerance and unity

Any form of attack on the basis of one’s identity or ethnicity or a speech inciting such attacks is prohibited. 

16/ Acts against the sovereignty, unity and constitutional order of the country

– Any communication and exchange of message with foreign governments or foreign NGOs that is likely to harm the sovereignty, security, and constitutional order is prohibited.

– Political parties shall not provide press statement that is likely to harm the sovereignty, security and constitutional order to local or foreign media.

17/ Presence in prohibited locations

Leaving a refugee camp without proper authorization or entering into the country in the absence of proper visa is prohibited.

18/ Movement of diplomats without permission

In the interest of their own safety, diplomats shall not travel beyond 40 kms radius of Addis Ababa without the knowledge and permission of the Command post.

19/ Presence of law enforcement for duty

Any law enforcement officer shall not resign or, except in case of force majeure, take annual leave for the duration of the State of Emergency.

20/ Rendering support to public disturbance 

Providing financial and material support or any other assistance, sheltering, giving incentives to anyone who commits unlawful act in contravention of this directive is prohibited.

Sub part two – Acts prohibited in certain parts of the Country

Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-part One, the restrictions provided from Article 21-24 shall be applicable in areas to be designated and announced by the Command Post.

21/ Carrying Arms

Carrying any armaments, blades or flammable materials is prohibited outside one’s compound.

22/ Attacks against development installations and infrastructures

– No person, except authorized personnel, shall move around the environs of development installations, infrastructure and investments, commercial farms, factories and similar institutions from 6pm to 6am.

– Security guards and law enforcement organs are authorized to take any necessary measure against any person contravening the curfew placed on the aforestated locations.

23/ Curfew

No person shall move around within a place and time put under curfew and publicly announced by the Command Post.

24/ Obstructing actions to stop disturbance and prevent disaster

– Contravening an order regarding certain persons or groups, who are suspected to be likely to cause disturbances or to be vulnerable to harm, to prevent them from entering into a certain area or building or to restrict them to a designated area is prohibited.

– Crossing any road block or restriction set by the Command Post in consideration of the safety of the area is prohibited.

Sub part three – Duty to inform and notify

25/ Duty to keep and provide information regarding lessee

Any lessor of a house, space, vehicle, or other similar facility shall record in detail and in writing the identity of the lessee and report to the nearest police station within 24 hours. Where the lessee is a foreign national, the lessor shall provide a copy of the lessee’s passport and the lease contract to the nearest police station.

26/ Duty to inform

In the interest of public peace and security, any institution shall provide and cooperate with the request for information from all levels of law enforcement organs.

Part Two – State of Emergency Measures where the Prohibitions are breached

27/ Persons authorized to carry out the measures

Law enforcement organs and officers may carry out the measures listed below on individuals and organizations contravening the State of Emergency proclamation and the restrictions provided from Article 21-24.

28/ Measures to be taken

Law enforcement officers may take the following measures, on any person contravening the prohibitions set out in part one of this directive:

(1) Detention without an arrest warrant,

(2) Keeping the detained person in a location to be decided by the Command Post for the duration of the State of Emergency,

(3) To provide rehabilitation training and release or to bring to court as the case may be,

(4) To undertake search without court warrant on any premises at any time with the participation of the local people and police and to seize any item that has been used or could be used for commission of crime or to order its preservation,

(5) To monitor or restrict messages transmitted through any radio, television, writings, images, photograph, theater and film,

(6) To conduct searches without court warrant and return looted property to their owners,

(7) Take legal measures against students or employees who take part in educational institutions disturbance and riots and order the institutions to take administrative measures, 

(8) To prevent certain persons or groups, who are suspected and anticipated to be likely to cause disturbances or to be vulnerable to harm, from entering or being present in a certain area or to restrict them to a designated area, and

(9) To undertake appropriate measures.

29/ Self-defence measures by law enforcement

Law enforcement officers and security guards, in the course of their activity to enforce the State of Emergency proclamation and the aforementioned restrictions, may take any measure necessary to protect themselves from attacks, by means of weapon or blades, endangering their lives and property.

30/ Entering into education Institutions

Law enforcement organs may enter schools, universities, other higher education institutions, and take the necessary measure to stop disturbances and detain the persons involved in the strike. Likewise, law enforcement officers may enter other private and government institutions to detain persons staging strikes and restore peace and security.

Part Three – Rehabilitation and adjudication

31/ Rehabilitation measures to be taken by the Command Post in accordance with the law

The Command Post may:

(1) Prosecute those who should be prosecuted, 

(2) Any person who have taken part in any disturbance or riot individually or in group in the past one year and

(a) who stole weapons or any private or government property, provided that he surrenders and hands over the stolen weapon and property to the nearest police station within 10 days of the issuance of this directive,

(b) who had provided financial and material assistance to any previous criminal activities, provided that he surrenders to the nearest police station within 10 days of the issuance of this directive,

(c) took part in the distribution of papers, in strikes and acts of incitements, provided that he surrenders to the nearest police station within 10 days of the issuance of this directive,

(d) committed murder, set any property in fire, committed any crime, provided that he surrenders to the nearest police station within 10 days of the issuance of this directive,

will be released after receiving rehabilitation training by Command Post, depending on the gravity of his role in the crime and whether he was the principal offender or an accomplice.

October 15, 2016

State of Emergency Command Post


Daniel Berhane

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