Political order. – The Ethiopian monarchy has the negusa nagast as its hereditary head. This title, which is used today in the protocol with “emperor”, probably originated when in the South Arabian colonies of the African coast the authority of a prince asserted itself over the other heads (nag ā sh) of the individual countries, formerly simple vicars of the rulers of the opposite Arab side. This prince, as such, assumed in the same pagan period of the Aksumite kingdom a figure of absolute monarch with divine origins: “son of the god Maḥrem not conquered by an enemy”, also an imitation of South Arabian customs. Many centuries later, when the kingdom became Christian and power stopped in the Solomonid dynasty,- at least from ‛Amda Ṣyon I (1314-1344 AD) onwards – it is also called negusa Ṣ yon ” king of Zion “as a descendant of Solomon, a title that later came to adhere to the coronation rites in the church of St. Mary of Ṣyon in Aksum. This title of negusa Ṣ yon was replaced, by the advent to the throne of Menelik II, by the other of seyuma Egz ‘ abh ē r “Chosen of the Lord” and the coronation rites took place in churches of the Scioa (S. Maria of Entotto for Menelik II; St. George of Addis Abeba for Zauditu and Ḥāyla Sellāsē I and no longer in Aksum). For Ethiopia government and politics, please check a2zgov.com.
The Emperor appoints the heads of the various regions; has the supreme judicial power; it has the crown army as its direct dependency; finally, he has the free availability of the treasury of the Crown (today designated with the name of gem ǧā b ē t “velvet house”) which is administered to him by a treasurer (ba ǧ erond). The distinction between the Crown treasure and the emperor’s private patrimony dates back to recent years.
The heads of the regions, who have various titles (r ā s, from ǧǧ – azm āč, etc.), have in their region the sum of civil, judicial and financial powers. However, the emperor can, in the appointment, limiting any of these powers: for example, may be reserved to itself or grant the head of a finitima region the right to high justice (q or r ā v ennat) of a given territory. The actual subjection of the ras, etc. at the Crown it is more a contingent question of politics than of stable regulations.
The population originally had a different legal situation according to whether they were Abyssinian people (i.e. autochthonous from the northern and central part of the plateau, assimilated to South Arabian immigration and the consequent invasions of the Aksumite kings and their successors) or military colonies (v̌awā) sent by the emperors to the newly conquered lands or to populations of these newly subdued lands. This distinction in the territory of the Abyssinian monarchy north of the Hawash and the Blue Nile was lost until the end of the century. XVI, also because the events of the struggle against Muslims (see below: History) often required everyone’s participation. An edict of the negus Za-Dengel (1623-1604) consecrated the assimilation of the Abyssinian peoples. Only recently the conquest of the countries Galla, Sidama, etc., gabb ā r (submissive obliged to keep the soldier).
Even during the reign of Menelik II and more after his death, the modernizing movement of young Ethiopians (the black jackets “of the political jargon of the old Abyssinians) had important consequences in the constitutional field. Menelik II, in 1907, had already conferred the title of ministers (menist ē r) to some dignitaries of his court, attributing to them the direction of some branches of the administration. they are chaired by others other than the Negus, who has always reserved the direct treatment of foreign affairs (assisted by a w ā nn ā diraktar “principal director” and not by a minister). It was only in 1931 that he was appointed foreign minister for the first time by the negus Ḥāyla Sellāsē.
In 1928, after his appointment as a negus, Tafari aggravated in an edict the sanctions against slavery, declared abolished since 1905, and prescribed the gradual transformation of the obligations of the gab ā r on compulsory work days. On July 16, 1931 the negus Ḥāyla Sellāsē issued an “Empire Law” which establishes the constitutional order of Ethiopia. The “Law of the Empire” recognizes the inheritance of imperial dignity in the lineage of Hāyla Sellāsē as the current negus is a Solomonid. The sovereign power remains entirely with the negus who will establish two chambers of council: one composed of councilors appointed by the negus from among the great leaders and another of councilors appointed by the heads of the provinces. The customs of the Crown Council, a meeting of the great leaders to deal directly with the negus in Addis Ababa the most serious political issues (which often occurred in recent years especially during the reign of Zauditu) and the another typical institution of the representatives that the heads of the provinces used to accredit still the same at the imperial court to follow the political events and to exercise in the capital the rights of jurisdiction of the head over the emigrants from his province. The ministers are responsible for the councils they give in writing to the negus on state affairs and are authorized, for the first time, to meet in council for the discussion of important matters.
Judiciary. – The Emperor personally presides over the supreme tribunal (čĭ lot) or has it presided over by the judge of the Crown who has the title of Afa-negus. Likewise, the great leaders also hold the presidency of the courts within the regions entrusted to them. Each tribunal is composed of several judges, nominated by the king for the supreme one and appointed by the chiefs for the minor tribunals. These judges have the title of wambar “seat”. They are heard in order (there are wambars on the right and those on the left) by the president of the court, but only in an advisory capacity. The decision of the dispute is therefore not devolved to the college, but to the single judge who is also the sovereign or the feudal lord.
The king, according to the feudal system, it may also grant other than the feudal lord of the region special jurisdictional rights; thus, as mentioned above, the high justice (q or r ā v ennat); so also in countries in which military colonies (v̌ awa) have been established, the jurisdiction over these settlers and the indigenous people subjected to them as gabb ā r is traditionally granted to a leader other than that of the area, etc.
The institution of arbitration has developed alongside the aforementioned magistracies. The arbitrator, freely chosen by the parties, sanctions his pronouncement by having the contenders recite the formula of fe ṭ em (see below: Ethnology) “let the king die!” so that a violation of the arbitral award is considered public insult to the crown.
Jurisdiction over the subjects of Western powers is regulated by the treaties. Disputes between foreigners of the same nationality are judged by the consular court of that foreign state; disputes between foreigners of different nationalities by the court of the defendant. Disputes between Abyssinians and foreigners are judged by the special court (ba – leyu ya – q ō ma ferd – b ē t “specially instituted tribunal”) which is composed of an Abyssinian judge, president, and the consul of the state of which the foreigner is a subject. The sentence is pronounced by the Abyssinian judge, but the consul has the right to refuse to sign it. In this case, the process is postponed to the supreme court to which the negus summons the consul of the foreigner as adviser. The law applied is that of the defendant.
This system was established in Ethiopia by the Franco-Ethiopian treaty of January 10, 1908 (usually referred to as the “Klobukowski treaty” after the name of the French negotiator) extended to other powers, generally implicitly, by the most favored nation clause: except that to Italy for which instead Ethiopia expressly obliged itself to maintain this special jurisdiction in the friendship treaty of 2 August 1928. This Italo-Ethiopian treaty applies the system of the Klobukowski treaty to “Italian citizens, colonial subjects and proteges”, by “protected” non-Italian foreigners individually passed, at their request, under the protection of the royal consular authorities in Ethiopia or subjects of states that have entrusted to theItaly protecting their interests in Ethiopia (as is now the case for Hungary).