First female president of the Supreme Court
The House of People’s Representative (HPR) approved the appointment of President and Vice President of the Federal Supreme Court nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) on November 1.
Accordingly, the House unanimously approved the appointment of Meaza Ashenafi as President (the first female president) and Solomon Areda as Vice President.
Meaza served as a Judge of the High Court of Ethiopia between 1989 and 1992. In 1993 she was appointed by the Ethiopian Constitution Commission as a legal adviser. She founded the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA), and became its executive director. She helped lead the development of the first women’s bank in Ethiopia, Enat Bank, which was established in 2011 and as of 2016 chairs its board of directors.
Solomon Areda, a former judge, is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an intergovernmental organization located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Meaza after her appointment said that she will work to restore respect for the legal system in the eyes of Ethiopians who sometimes view the courts as biased or slow to respond.
“The people of Ethiopia love the law, and they respect the law. However, because justice is hard to come by for the people, they have lost trust in the law,” she said.
Meaza wants Ethiopians to view the court as able to hold all to account, including those in power.
“It is not enough for the law to remain on paper,” she said. “What makes the law purposeful is the court in the end. If one person is killed by a government body or is killed by another person, where he can find the solution is from the court. Therefore, if the court cannot afford the person speedy justice that is free of political pressure and corruption, the law loses meaning.”