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Colonial Cases

Newspaper commentaries and minor cases



The Times, 23 September 1911


... and Mr. C. H. Walker to be Consul for Western Ethiopia (September 6).


The Argus (Melbourne, Australia), 26 December 1913


LONDON, Dec. 25.

The "London Gazette" has published an Order in Council creating British consular courts in Abyssinia, with civil and criminal jurisdiction.  This action is taken in view of possible disturbances following upon King Menelik's death.


Sydney Morning Herald, 27 November 1926


Days of King Stephen.

... The national code of laws is contained in a book called the Fetha Negast, in the priestly language Geze of the fourth century.  As in King Stephen's day the only Englishmen who understood Latin were the clergy, so the only Abysssinians who understand Geze are the priests.  Their influence in the law courts is accordingly great.  The Fetha Negast deals with canon and civil law, and the penal code.  As it is grounded on the Mosaic Law and inspired by the principle "an eye for an eye," the Powers have naturally obtained for their nationals the privilege of being tried in their own Consular Courts.  Our nationals are legion, generally Arabs, Somalis, and Indians.   [Long and detailed article.]


The Times, 26 October, 1927
Addis Ababa, Oct. 24.
  The Court of Inquiry which has been sitting at Harrar to investigate the circumstances in which a caravan on its way to join the Maharao of Cutch and Sir Geoffrey Archer was attacked in Abyssinian territory last June [Map of area] has given its award.  The Court was composed of two British and two Abyssinian representatives, with a neutral president, Mr. Orrabund, the Belgian Minister.
  The Court has awarded £25,000 to the British, including the £10,000 already paid. (Ten Abyssinian dollars are equivalent to the Pound Sterling.) Nothing is awarded to the Abyssinians and the Court recommends the dismissal of Garlla Giorgis, the chief of Jijiga.
*** In the early summer of this year the Maharao of Cutch and his grandson, together with Sir Geoffrey Archer- a former Governor of British Somaliland and later Governor General of the Sudan, - went on a shooting expedition into the Arissa country. The Regent of Abyssinia (H.I.H. Ras Taffari Makonnen) had given the party permission to make the expedition, but this fact was not communicated to the local chiefs. Meanwhile a caravan set out from Hargheisa in British Somaliland to meet the Maharao and Sir Geoffrey. When the caravan was in its zariba, about a day's march from Daggar Bur, it was attacked by Abyssinian soldiers.  This was on June 5 about 4 a.m. Eight British Somalis, including the head man of the caravan, were killed and ten wounded. The Abyssinians stated that they had only one casualty. On news of the occurrence reaching Addis Ababa, the regent expressed his regret and agreed to a joint inquiry being held, promising to punish any person found guilty of, or responsible for, the attack.


Source: The Times, 5 November, 1960

NEW YORK, Nov. 4.
  The representatives of Ethiopia and Liberia at the United Nations said at a press conference here today that their Governments had filed suits with the International Court of Justice at the Hague, charging the Union of South Africa with violations of its duties as mandatory of the territory of South West Africa.
  This action has been taken in pursuance of the resolution unanimously adopted at the conference of independent African states held at Addis Ababa in June.
  The Ethiopian and Liberian applications charge the Union Government with many violations of the mandate and of Article 22 of the covenant of the League of Nations. Among the charged against the Union is its practice of apartheid and other policies of racial discrimination which, it is asserted, grossly violate the Union's duty under the mandate.
  The applications request the court to declare that "the Union has the duty forthwith to cease the practice of apartheid in the territory of South-West Africa."
  Another alleged violation is the Union's suppression of rights and liberties of inhabitants of the territory essential to their orderly evolution towards self-government. Specific complaints relate to: Limiting the franchise to persons of European descent; segregating residential areas by law; depriving African children of adequate educational facilities; requiring Africans to possess passes for travel beyond the confines of particular locations; and prohibiting African membership of political parties.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School