Technical assistance to the democratisation process - Observation of the trial of opposition leaders, civil society and media representatives
Following violent protests against the May 2005 elections in June and November last year, which have cost the lives of civilians, the Government of Ethiopia decided to arrest the leadership of the main opposition party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), journalists and civil society members. They are accused, among other, of high treason and "attempted genocide" which can carry the death penalty.
Given the political importance of the trial for the democratisation process in Ethiopia, the EU decided to undertake the initiative to assure observation of the trial. EU Heads of Mission in Ethiopia identified an international jurist, Michael Ellman, who would be available to come to Ethiopia and monitor trial hearings. The following Terms of Reference have been agreed upon
(i) to make known to the court, to the authorities of the country and to the general public the international interest and concern in the trial in question;
(ii) to appraise him or herself of the background and circumstances leading to the trial;
(iii) to obtain information about the conduct of the trial, the nature of the case against the accused and the laws under which the accused is being tried;
(iv) to report to European Union Heads of Mission in Addis Ababa on the conduct of the trial, particularly with respect to international, regional and national standards regarding the elements and conduct of a fair trial;
(v) to make recommendations to the EU HOMs which shall be made available to the authorities of the jurisdiction in which the trial takes place.
Austria agreed to fund the consultancy for the 3 months up to July 2006.