RETHINKING THE PENALTY OF HARMFUL TRADITIONAL PRACTICES COMMITTED ON PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN UNDER THE ETHIOPIAN CRIMINAL CODE

Muluken Kassahun AMID, Ikenga K. E. ORAEGBUNAM

Abstract


The offences that endanger the life, body, and health of a pregnant woman and children through harmful traditional practices (htps) are proscribed under the 2004 Ethiopian Criminal Code. Those provisions are designed to serve as a guiding rule to dissociate the society from harmful practices. In view of that, the law should be enacted where the person commits a crime intentionally and who has more dangerous disposition than the person who commits the crime negligently, and his/her punishment also greater than the later. Also, the person who commits a grave crime should be punished more than one who commits a lesser crime. This article examines whether the provisions of the Code conform to the above criminal penalty principle. The article found that the penalty provided for crimes committed against the life, body, and health of pregnant women and children through htps are designed in a manner in which the person who commits the crime intentionally has the chance to be less punished than the person who commits the same crime negligently. In effect, those provisions are not only inconsistent with the purpose of criminal law and major sentencing principles, but they also infringe on the accused and victim’s rights in addition to degenerating public confidence in the justice system. Hence, the Ethiopian Federal Parliament should amend and redesign the provisions with the appropriate penalty.

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