Parliament simulation Moot Court Event Takes

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Posted on: Jul 28,2015

A parliament simulation moot court event had taken place on January 15, 2015 inside Brown Hall. The program was organized by Amicus Promotion and Communication  in  collaboration  with Dire  Dawa University School of Law intended to be part of a TV show which is expected to be aired on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate.

The event was a simulation of the Ethiopian parliament where a motion for enactment of a new law on environment was  presented. Two students advocated for acceptance of the motion by the parliament where  another two students advocated for the rejection of the motion. The two side students (student Tekelemuz G/ sellasie and Dawit Radae being one side and Remedan Jemal and Zemere Yeshitila being another side presented  their case to the parliament. Instructor Hilina Ashenafi had played the role of Speaker of the House.

The main issue raised on the debate was “Is the public’s constitutional right to participate in decisions that affect the environment duely protected by the existing law?” The students who advocated for the motion argued that the existing environmental laws and institutional framework failed to   adequately realize this constitutional right. The arguments raised, inter alia, are the following:

  • The environment impact assessment proclamation gives the right to participate only to the part of the society who are expected to be affected by the project. Other societies, NGOs and other organizations were not given the chance to participate on environmental impact assessment procedure;
  • The duty to ensure the participation is laid a upon project owners only;
  • The environment impact assessment proclamation addresses the public’s right to participate only for projects and other decisions that affect the environment are left out;
  • The 15 day period within which the public can participate in environmental impact assessment process is  too short and inadequate;
  • On institutional level, the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency has not discharged its obligations very well. For instance it is supposed to issue a regulation on environmental impact assessment law but hasn’t done that yet.

On the other hand, the students who advocated that the existing law is adequate to protect the public’s right to participate in decisions that affect  the environment raised the following arguments:

  • The environment pollution control proclamation has a provision where any interested party can bring a case to the court  without  showing a vested interest. This provision is an exception to the civil procedure rule and opens a wide door for any citizen, any person, group or an NGO to bring a court action on the issue of environment; 
  • Accumulation of law brings nothing but burden for courts and it won’t be a solution for a problem created perhaps due to enforcement gaps;

A really hot debate was made by the two side participants. Both sides accepted questions raided by the Speaker of the House and members of the house and answered accordingly raising important articles codes. The students were well prepared and admirations were poured from everyone who attended the debate. Finally a vote was made by the members of the house and the motion was approved with 51 supports, 36 rejections and 8 abstinence.

According to instructor Hilina Ashenafi, the School had made a  tremendous preparation for the program. The issue of the debate was prepared and developed by the staffs of the school. And the students who passed the screening were coached by the Law School staffs for weeks on the legal issue.