Education International
Education International

Ethiopia: The Federal Supreme Court rules against the original ETA

published 27 June 2008 updated 27 June 2008

Late on 26 June, EI received a disturbing update from Gemoraw Kassa, General Secretary of the ETA, established in 1949 and EI Member, informing EI that the court of cassation at the Federal Supreme Court ruled against the original ETA, 26 June.

Gemoraw Kassa notes the disappointment of the ETA, and the surprise not only at the content of the ruling but the proceeding itself. Surprising because during the hearing held on the 11th of June 2008, the case was postponed to the 30th of July 2008. This followed the original postponement from 7 April 2008. In the meantime, the ETA received an execution order from the Federal High Court based on its ruling of 7 February 2008 that could force ETA to hand over the property of original ETA to the ETA established in 1993. ETA (1949) then applied for the suspension of this order pending the final outcome of the court proceeedings. But, Gemoraw Kassa says, despite the provision of the law, the judges at the court of cassation have been too reluctant to respond for the last two weeks. “We have been constantly pleading with them but with no avail.”

Gemoraw goes on to say, “Finally, today (on 26 June), we were allowed to appear in a court room where six judges sat around a table and they told us that they upheld the ruling of the Federal High Court and of the Federal Supreme Court. According to their ruling, we are going to lose the property, bank assets, name and logo of ETA altogether to the surrogate ETA leaders.

“It is regrettable that by such court proceeding, the ETA court case which has been on litigation for the last 15 years has been finalized, denying ETA members of their rights to independent professional organization and property as well as bank assets accumulated for the last 59 years. Hereafter, nowhere to go to seek a high standard of justice to be practiced in this country.”

Gemoraw Kassa also informs EI that the ETA (1993) leaders accompanied by a number of policemen and officials of neighborhood office nearby ETA headquarters came to ETA (1949) premises to claim its property today. “As we were at the court of cassation of the Supreme Court, they could not achieve their purpose. They may come back tomorrow with a new order. What will follow is to be seen.”

Indeed we will keep you posted.

Please see also the Urgent Resolution on Trade Union Rights Violations in Ethiopia, adopted by the 5th EI World Congress in July 2007.

Chronology of recent events:

3-6 February:EI Delegation to Ethiopia: Steve Sinnott (NUT), Assibi Napoe, Emanuel Fatoma (EI), Teopista Birungi Mayanja (UNATU), Gemoraw Kassa (ETA).Visas denied to Jan Eastman, Dominique Marlet (EI) and Walter Dresscher (AOb).

7 February:Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the Federal High Court : dissolution of the original ETA, which is ordered to hand over property, other assets and its name to the ETA established in 1993. Date set by court for execution of this order is 26 June 2008. ETA petitions the Court of Cassation.

8 February:EI Urgent Action Appeal on Dissolution of Ethiopian Teachers’ Association (EI member).

25 February:EI letter to Ethiopian PM, asking once again for dialogue with Ethiopian authorities.

5 March:Responses to the UAA sent to ETA, embassy in Brussels, embassy in Geneva, Ethiopian PM.

7 April:Court of Cassation hearing is adjourned because one of the judges was also at the Supreme Court which delivered the verdict against the original ETA.

10 April:Audience with ambassador of Ethiopia in Brussels.

18 April:Hearing of Court of Cassation: proceedings are adjourned until the 12th of June 2008 for further investigation.

6 June:Meeting with CETU.

9 June:ETA (1949) commisionned report on tortures of members sent to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Ethiopian Embassy in Brussels. Supplement to EI/ETA Complaint n°2516 to the ILO CFA.

11 June:Hearing of Court of Cassation postponed to 30 July. New ETA has processed an order for EI's ETA to vacate the ETA headquarters.

26 June:30 July Hearing of Court of Cassation moved forward with no notice. The Court upheld the ruling of the Federal High Court and of the Federal Supreme Court.