EU support for criminal justice reform in Ethiopia

Improving the quality and ­efficiency of the justice ­sector and strengthening the rule of law in Ethiopia

In making its processes more consultative and addressing challenges related to investigation, prosecution, adjudication, and detention, Ethiopia’s criminal justice system is undergoing serious reform with support from the EU.

In the last five years, Ethiopia has twice declared a nationwide state of emergency due to anti-government demonstrations. New leadership has transformed the human rights landscape with the release of political prisoners, lifting of freedom of expression restrictions, and legal reforms of repressive laws, but further progress is still needed.


While the launch of the reform of the criminal justice reform system precedes the current government, the new administration has decided it should be implemented in a way that allows legal professionals and other stakeholders to provide input in an institutionalised manner. A Legal and Justice Affairs Advisory Council (LJAAC) under the direction of the Federal Attorney General was thus created in June 2018 with a 3-year mandate to advise the Office of the Attorney General in its effort to undertake a comprehensive reform of the legal and justice system.

As part of its 2019 Annual Action Programme, the EU identified Access to Justice and Support to the Rule of Law as one of its priorities in Ethiopia with an emphasis on the implementation of legal and judicial system reform. This commitment resulted in an EU assignment to formulate a criminal justice reform programme. A NIRAS team is currently implementing the 18-month project.

To learn more about this programme 

Download the Project Brief