Conflict of Laws in Delegation of Criminal Jurisdiction between Ethiopia and Other Countries: Choice of Applicable Criminal Law

  • Bebizuh Mulugeta Menkir
Keywords: choice of law, country of refuge, criminal jurisdiction, criminal law, delegation


As a sovereign state, Ethiopia can exercise its jurisdiction on criminal cases based on principles recognized under its Criminal Code and International Law. At times, Ethiopia may not be practically able to exercise its jurisdiction over the offender when, for instance, someone after committing the crime absconds to other state. If there is no possibility of extradition of such suspect Ethiopia may delegate the exercise of its jurisdiction to the country of refuge so that the offender will be tried in the latter’s court. In some other cases, when someone absconds and sought refuge in Ethiopia after committing a crime in another country, the latter may delegate the exercise of its jurisdiction to Ethiopia. In both scenarios, the criminal law that the delegated country shall apply to entertain the delegated case is a question that calls for an answer. This question triggers the usually neglected question of choice of applicable law in criminal matters. This Article aims at discussing the choice of applicable criminal law at the time of delegation of criminal jurisdiction between Ethiopia and other countries. By examining the issue in light of the principles of criminal jurisdiction and customizing the principles developed in the choice of law over civil cases, this Article argues that the applicable law by the delegated state (country of refuge) in the case of delegated exercise of jurisdiction is the criminal law of the delegating state.