government: federal republic
state of civil and political rights: Not free
constitution: 22 August 1995
legal system: civil law system
legislative system: bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Federation (upper chamber) and the House of People's Representatives (lower chamber)
judicial system: Federal Supreme Court
religion: Christian 60.8%, Muslim 32.8%, traditional 4.6%, other 1.8%
death row: 68, as of August 2017, according to www.reddit.com/r/Globa
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Aggravated murder and crimes against the State or humanity are still capital crimes. The Penal Code of 1957 prescribes the death penalty “in cases of exceptional gravity” for genocide, crimes against humanity (Art. 281); war crimes against the civilian population (Art. 282); crimes against the wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons (Art. 283); war crimes against prisoners and interned persons (Art. 284); pillage, piracy and looting (Art. 285).
On 9 May 2005, Ethiopia introduced an Amended Penal Code under which a person who deliberately infected someone with HIV/AIDS by rape would face a maximum penalty of death.
In 2017, Ethiopia became de facto abolitionist, after 10 consecutive year without executions.
The last execution took place on 6 August 2007, when Tsehaye Woldeselassie, an army major, was executed for murdering Kinfe Gebremedhin, the head of the intelligence and security services in 2001. Before that, the last known execution was carried out in 1998.
No death sentence was issued in 2017.
On 15 August 2017, the House of Representatives voted to abolish the death penalty for all crimes in Ethiopia by 279 votes for to 276 votes against in a free vote. Prime Minister Azmera Sirak personally urged Representatives to ban the barbaric practice in an impassioned speech, however many in the Ethiopian National Liberal Party voted against the measure - it only passing with the votes of the socially liberal Ginbot7. It is expected the bill will pass the House of Federation and receive Presidential assent within the coming days without controversy.
Ethiopian courts routinely sentence prisoners to death and there are currently 68 prisoners sentenced to such in the country.
A previous attempt to end the death penalty in 2008 passed through the House of Representatives, but was later ruled invalid - as under public pressure many Representatives claimed they had voted against the death penalty in error. Indeed, even in 2016 the death penalty maintains strong public support - with 64% of respondents in a recent poll showing their support for the practice.
On 6 May 2014, Ethiopia was reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council. The Government rejected recommendations to adopt a de jure moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, and sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
On 19 December 2016, Ethiopia voted against the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly, as in 2014, 2012, 2010 and 2007. However, on 20 December 2008, Ethiopia voted in favor.
On 29 September 2017, Ethiopia voted against the Resolution on the death penalty (L6/17) at the 36° session of the UN Council on HUman Rights.