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: +10, at the end of 2016, according to Amnesty International
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 2016, for the nineth consecutive year, no executions were carried out in Ethiopia, but two death sentences were imposed during the year and at least ten people were on death row at the end of 2016, according to Amnesty International.
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.
The death penalty on women
Under the Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, arts 119-120, a pregnant woman’s death sentence is suspended during her pregnancy, and upon live birth, the sentence of death may be commuted to life imprisonment and a nursing mother may have her sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
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.