The Judiciary in Ethiopia is set to assert its independence as it moves to negotiate its annual budget with the Legislature.
According to the country's first female Chief Justice, Justice Meaza Ashenafi, the Judiciary has submitted its budget request to the Parliament.
''For the first time last week, we submitted our budget request directly to parliament. In the constitution, there is a provision that says the judiciary will directly request and negotiate its budget from parliament, but this never happened. It would go through the executive. So we're changing that trend and this year for the first time we will negotiate with parliament and that, I feel, will give us some independence. We will negotiate for better resources'', Justice Ashenafi stated.
On the issue of corruption in the Judiciary, the Chief Justice said ''part of the problem is lack of communication and understanding of how the judiciary functions. I'm not saying we don't have problems of integrity - we do have them - but most of the time it is perception. Everyone who walks into my office with some sort of complaint says the judge has some sort of relationship with the opponent. This is not always true. Maybe it is true 5% or 10% of the time, I don't know, but there is that perception. We need to build trust, help people understand that the law functions in a very technical way. But we do also need to work on addressing questions of integrity in our judicial system''.