Melaku Fenta case adjourned to await HoF decision on constitutional dispute

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Addis Ababa, December 12 (WIC) – The Federal High Court adjourned Melaku Fenta et al case to await the decision of House of Federation (HoF) on the constitutional dispute regarding jurisdiction.
The Federal High Court referred the case to the House of Federation for constitutional interpretation after its jurisdiction to try Melaku was challenged by the defense team.
As a government official with a ministerial portfolio and a member of the Council of Ministers, the jurisdiction to try Melaku rests with the Federal Supreme Court, according to Article 8 (1) of the Federal Courts Establishment Proclamation.
However, in its previous hearing, the Federal High Court questioned the constitutionality of this provision stating that ‘the law deprives the defendant of his constitutional right of appeal if his case is tried by the Federal Supreme Court’.
The Council of Constitutional Inquiry, a professional body tasked to investigate constitutional disputes, met last week and passed its recommendation to the House of Federation on the issue, the court said without disclosing the council’s decision.
However, the final decision rests with the House of Federation. The house is required by the constitution to decide on constitutional disputes within 30 of receipt of recommendations submitted to it by the Council of Constitutional Inquiry.
However, the court said, in the interest of defendants who are in prison after they were denied bail, ordered HoF to reach at a decision ahead of the next court date.
The case is now adjourned to December 31 to await the house’s decision.

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