Meaza Ashenafi Speaks about ‘Rewarding & Challenging’ Time as Chief Justice

ADDIS ABABA – Former Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi penned down her farewell message, listing out various achievements made during her four-year-long tenure at the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia.

Meaza issued the statement after she and Solomon officially handed over their respective offices to the newly appointed leadership on Monday afternoon.

This comes a week after the parliament endorsed Tewodros Mihiret and Abeba Embiale as the new president and deputy president of the supreme court respectively.

The former chief justice said she was privileged to be the first woman president of the supreme court in Ethiopia.

Meaza said “measurable goals achieved” under her and Solomon’s leadership in their effort to make the judiciary system more accountable and independent.

These goals resulted in “significant progress in public perception” though there were areas that needed further improvement, according to Meaza’s statement.

Read her full statement below

“On this important day as myself and the outgoing Vice President exit the leadership of the Federal Supreme Court and usher in a new leadership, we would like to thank the Government and people of Ethiopia for this incredible opportunity to serve our country. 

Personally, I feel privileged to be the first woman president of the Supreme Court.

During this rewarding and challenging period, we have achieved measurable reform agenda goals by taking legislative and systemic measures to insure the independence, efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the Judiciary. 

Two core laws were adopted to launch the reform and 16 new regulations and directives were issued. 

These measures have resulted in establishing an independent Judicial Administration Council, set in motion efficient justice delivery through a case flow management system, assured independence of judges and Judiciary as an institution including by implementing constitutional budgetary allocation process etc. 

Court Annexed mediation is another pioneering and promising step taken to improve effectiveness. The ground for judicial accountability was also laid and disciplinary measures were taken based on the newly adopted Judicial Code of Conduct. 

In view of fighting judicial corruption, an anti-corruption strategy is adopted and a monitoring office is established. Furthermore, judges’ performance evaluation directive is adopted. 

The working conditions of judges have improved, residential apartments provided, salary and benefit packages revised for the better. Over the past four years, we brought more women to leadership and to the bench. 

Furthermore, comprehensive gender-responsive strategies including workplace harassment policy are prepared. On the court user side, 9 women and child-focused benches are established, and a gender-based violence bench-book is also designed. 

Beyond and above the judicial functions, an effective human and financial management system is introduced and service delivery is transformed. Proclamation 1234/21 has mandated the court to shift the management of the court staff to the Judiciary. 

While all the groundwork is undertaken, implementation is awaiting parliamentary regulation. 

Implementation of the reform programs and performance of the Judiciary over the past four years have been assessed by independent bodies and the findings indicated significant progress in public perception while recommending further areas of improvement. 

The highlighted activities and the wide spectrum of reform objectives and executions are guided by a comprehensive five-year strategic plan.

Beyond Judicial administration, we have led the designing of Justice Sector roadmap in collaboration with other justice sector actors. Development partners are on board to support these. 

Regarding our leadership role of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry (CCl), we have taken measures to improve the efficiency of the CIC. 

Most of all, the Council has rendered a landmark constitutional interpretation through a transparent process regarding the postponement of the 6th General election that was endorsed by the House of Federation. 

At this juncture, it is appropriate to thank the dedicated group of core leadership and management, honorable judges, support staff, and administration for their full and dedicated engagement and support.

We are also grateful to development partners, who have provided critical technical and financial support to the reform endeavors. In view of entrenching the reform agendas set in motion and even go beyond, we call upon all to extend the same support to the new leadership.

We wish the Honorable President Tewodros Mihiret Kebede and Honorable Deputy President Abeba Embiale Mengiste all the best!”

Featured Image: Former President of the Federal Supreme Court Meaza Ashenafi speaking at Addis Weg Event on May 10, 2019 [Photo File/PMoE]

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