The leadership vowed to create a strong judicial institution characterized by the qualities of independence, transparency, impartiality, and accountability in the context of the judiciary’s multifaceted reform process in order to earn the public’s trust. Without judicial integrity, which is a fundamental component of the reform, it is completely impossible to establish a judiciary with all the qualities described.
The Ethiopian legal system has historically suffered greatly from a lack of public confidence. The root of the mistrust was a lack of honesty on both an individual and institutional level. In particular, it was said that Ethiopia’s judiciary, at all levels, had a pervasive problem with corruption, favoritism, and accessibility.
Because of this, people typically had little to no faith in the judiciary, which in turn greatly lowered popular confidence in the rule of law, hope for democratization, and the defense of fundamental rights. The leadership of the court has made a number of initiatives, including the revision and implementation of the legislation, with a view to ensuring judicial independence, addressing the issue of integrity, and promoting transparency and accountability.
These legal frameworks and associated actions offered solid foundations on which to attack the issue of judicial integrity. For example, the Federal Judicial Admiration Council recently lifted the immunity of two federal high court judges who are allegedly guilty of forging documents and announcing false arbitral verdicts. These kinds of actions are thought to send a clear message to the federal courts about how to combat judicial corruption and promote judicial integrity.