"It is against this backdrop of unsatisfacotry enforcement of fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution that the role of human rights NGOs in Ethiopia should come to the fore. Thus, apart from monitoring violations and conducting legal awareness programs, there is a need for human rights NGOs in Ethiopia to engage in public interest litigation with a view to facilitating the judical enforcement of fundamental rights representing those who, for various reasons, can not access courts. A number of reasons could be provided to justify why the South African system has been chosen for a lesson to Ethiopia. One reason could be the legal framework put in place to address issues of acces to justice in South Africa. Standing is a crucial question in any venture of public interest litigation. Section 38(d) of the South African Constitution entitles anyone acting in the public interest to approach a competent court and seek remedies when they feel that a fundamental right is infringed or threatened. This very liberal approach to standing is not common in many legal systems. For countries like Ethiopia where there is an extremely tight requirement of standing to institute civil proceedings in courts, such a liberal approach could be an inspiration. In addition to the guarantees given by the Constitution, in South Africa there exists a relatively advanced and dynamic system of subsidiary legislation that could facilitate the full utilisation of the constitutionally recognised rights of access to justice. More relevant to this dissertation are the human rights NGOs in South Africa that are engaged in human rights lawyering in general and public interest litigation in particular. Much could be learnt from the experiences of prominent human rights NGOs such as the Legal Resources Centre and Lawyers for Human Rights. In all, Ethiopia, where the activities of human rights NGOs have not yet gone further than the monitoring of violations and fragmented attempts of awareness raising campaigns, could indeed draw lessons from the South African experience in this regard. ... The study has five chapters. The first chapter deals with introductory matters such as objective, methodology and literature survey. In the second chapter, a working definition of the concept of public interest litigation, the rationale behind it, issues such as access to justice and locus standi will be discussed. The third chapter is devoted to the analysis of public interest litigation as employed in different legal systems. With a view to providing a broad perspective to the practice the cases of France, the United States and Canada are presented. However, the chapter will focus more on the Indian and South African systems, mainly because of the nature of the problems public interest litigation addresses in the two countries. There will be a fourth chapter dedicated to the examination of the existing legal and institutional framework in Ethiopia in light of the background presented in the previous chapters. The fifth chapter deals with the conclusion and recommendations aimed at pointing out the major lessons to be drawn to introduce public interest litigation in Ethiopia." -- Introduction.
Prepared under the supervision of Professor JR de Ville at the Community Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2005.