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Criminal Tribunal Students Provide Input on Anti-Terrorism Proclamation

henokclassjpg Criminal Tribunal Students Provide Input on Anti-Terrorism ProclamationProf. Henok Gabisa, far left, with students from the Criminal Tribunal Practicum

This past Fall semester, a team of W&L Law students in the Criminal Tribunal Practicum class were given the unique opportunity to review and suggest legislative amendments to Ethiopia’s Anti-terrorism Proclamation.

According to Prof. Henok Gabisa, who teaches the class, this proclamation has been criticized by international  rights group and has been used by the previous administration in Ethiopia as the main legal tool to crack down and criminalize opponents and dissents in the country.

The current reformist administration in Ethiopia, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, needed expert assistance with its ongoing reform in the country. Gabisa brought the opportunity to his students through connections in Ethiopia, his home country.

The student team drew upon Ethiopian laws, international law, and the national and federal laws of a wide range of countries to provide to the government of Ethiopia their expert opinion and recommended changes to the legislation. These recommendations highlighted the original provisions of the law that were found to be in violation of the Ethiopian Constitution and binding international law. The students also assessed practical aspects of the Proclamation and incorporated post-legislative scrutiny techniques to combat future abuse of the Proclamation in order to ensure fair trials.

The Transnational Criminal Tribunal Law Practicum is one of the innovative practice-based classes created at W&L a decade ago under the auspices of the School’s Transnational Law Institute (TLI). The goal of such courses is to equip the students with hands on experience in international criminal law, human rights law and access to justice.

Students in the class have worked directly with defense teams in the Military Commissions Tribunal in Guantanamo, Cuba, the Office of Public Counsel for the Defense at the International Criminal Court, and the Karadzic defense team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Prior student work has has been used directly in court proceedings.