Self-defense laws in Ethiopia

Aloha friends!

Not sure if this is the right place to post, but I have a legal rights question I’m hoping for some guidance on. A dear friend of mine just finished a masters program at Oxford in development economics and will be living in Addis Ababa for the next couple years. She asked me if I know anything about self-defense laws in Ethiopia, and I don’t, but I’m hoping someone here might, or at least know where to point us to learn more.

For context, this is the text she sent me this morning:

Okay, so basically the group of us that are going are trying to figure out if Ethiopia has any laws against defending yourself if you were attacked. For example, some other African countries have laws that if you were to mace or hit a robber or something you would also be charged. Sort of messed up, but we kind of want to know in case someone broke into our house, etc. But I can’t find a clear answer.

Do you have any idea how I could find out?? On first glances, it doesn’t seem like there is a clear answer on Google.

Any help would be much appreciated. :slight_smile:

Dear friend, Yes there are self defense laws in Ethiopia. But the provisions are found scattered in the tort and criminal lawd. I can share you relevant laws if necessary. The tort provisions are part of the civil code and criminal provisions are found in the criminal code.

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Thank you @Misgepower! Yes, if you could share the relevant laws that would be great.

Hi Dallin! This is a great topic - thanks for posting it. I might be reading between the lines too much here, but I think the concern your friend might be referring to is not “laws against defending yourself” in African countries but rather that corruption is rampant in many countries with weak and underfunded police, which can lead to innocent people being detained when the police get involved. If you are obviously not a local, you may find yourself targeted as well. I do not know about Ethiopia specifically but have unfortunately experienced it first hand in quite a few other African countries.

It doesn’t matter what the laws are on the books in these cases - you just have to be very careful to try to avoid getting wrapped up in a police situation. Maybe this is not the most satisfying answer, but there are precautions you can take when traveling to a country you’ve never been to before - the most important to me is always to find a good local friend or partner who can take you around who is very familiar with the local situation and can deal with situations that come up. Probably also a good idea not to drive yourself, so you don’t risk getting into a traffic accident, and to stay in a place that has guards, so you don’t have to personally defend yourself against a possible intruder.

In most cases encounters with police work out fine - you just have to be prepared to waste some time while the police determine what to do with you! At the @exchange_2016tanzania I recall all of us spending a few extra hours sitting in a minibus on the way out of Dar es Salaam while the driver sorted out an obscure moving violation issue with the police. Eventually he was allowed to pay a reasonable fine and we were on our way again. Maybe other participants from that exchange remember that situation better or have some advice for you too. :sunflower:

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