Monday, September 14, 2020

Vagrancy Control Proclamation No. 384-2004



      WHEREAS, vagrancy is increasing and wide-spreading in our country from time to time, thereby creating a threat to the tranquility and order of the people;

  WHEREAS, in order to permanently dispel this threat, it has become necessary to bring criminals to justice and create conditions for their social rehabilitation,

      NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with Article 55(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:


1.   Short Title

  This Proclamation may be cited as  “Vagrancy Control Proclamation No. 384/2004.”

2.   Definition

      In this Proclamation

1)  “Center” means a rehabilitation center at the federal or regional levels to provide rehabilitation services to any persons convicted of vagrancy;

2)  “Police” means a Federal Regional or Addis Ababa city or Dire Dawa city police;

3) “Commission” means the Federal Prisons’ Commission.

3.    Objective

The objective of this Proclamation is to control vagrancy crimes by bringing criminals to justice and imposing punishment proportionate to their crimes and to create conditions for their transformation into law-abiding and productive citizenry.

4.    Vagrancy

Unless it entails a heavier penalty under the Penal Code, whosoever, being able-bodied, having no visible means of subsistence, and

1)  is found, in a public place or a public utility area or a place open to the public, betting or gambling or playing other unlawful similar games involving money or material benefits;

2) is found to have in his possession a firearm without lawful authorization or a dagger for attacking humans or animals or a sharp-edged instrument or other similar instrument without good cause in a public place, a place for public gathering or recreation or in or around a school compound or in any other similar place;

3) is found in or upon a premise under private ownership or possession, without the permission of its owner or possessor or a person with authority on the property;

 4)  is found attempting to enter into a school compound by threatening or using force or deceiving or is found inside a school compound or on the street or disturbing the process of schooling by loitering around the school or attempting to gain benefits by forcing or threatening students;

5)  intentionally alarms the public or people in vicinity by intoxicating himself with alcohol or psychotropic or narcotic substance;

6)   is found loitering or prowling at a place, at a time, or in a manner not usual for a law-abiding citizen under circumstances that warrant alarm for the safety of persons or property in vicinity and takes flight upon appearance of a police force, refuses to identify himself or manifestly endeavors to conceal himself;

7)   attempts, at any place, to sexually harass or force a woman to gratify his sexual feelings;

8)  demands payment for a service he has rendered without being authorized or demands more than what he has agreed to be paid or refuses to leave the property when asked by a person with authority;

9)  disturbs the tranquility of residents in vicinity by participating in organized gang brawls;

10) is a theft-recidivist who is found preparing himself to commit another theft or loitering at a place where theft is committed or alarms the public in vicinity;

11) directly or indirectly receives or lets himself to be given money or other similar benefits by using his reputation for violent behavior or brutality in his community or taking advantage of the fear he has caused to the community in vicinity due to such reputation; 

12)   is found having in his possession keys or similar implements, which are not his own or entrusted to him, of any house, vehicle or other similar things;

is punishable with imprisonment not less than one year and half, and not exceeding two years. In cases of exceptional gravity, the maximum penalty may be extended to three years imprisonment. 

5.     Execution of Punishment

1)  A person, who is found guilty of vagrancy in accordance with Article 4 of this Proclamation, shall serve his sentence in a center;

2) Until such time that each Region   establishes its own centers, decisions given by Regional courts pursuant to this Proclamations shall be executed in a federal rehabilitation center.


The Process of Bringing a Suspect to Justice

6.    Arrest

1)  Any Police may arrest without warrant any person who may reasonably be suspected of being a vagrant.

2)  The police shall bring the arrested suspect before a court within 48 hours-of his arrest. The time reasonable taken to bring the suspect to the court shall not be included.

3)  A person who is reasonably suspected of being a vagrant in accordance with Article 6(1) of this Proclamation shall not be released on bail.

7.    Remand

1) The investigating police officer who has arrested a person on suspicion of vagrancy shall complete his investigation and submit the investigation file to the public prosecutor within twenty-eight days after the arrest.

2) The investigating police officer shall   carry out the necessary investigation within the aforementioned period of time in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code.

3) Without limiting the generality provided for in Sub-Article 2 of this Article the investigation shall in particular, include the following:

a)   the age of the suspect;

b)   whether the suspect is able-bodied;

c)   the suspect’s livelihood or source     of income;

d)   where and with whom the suspect lives;

e)   the reputation of the suspect in his local community;

4)  where the investigation police are ordered to conduct further investigation pursuant to Article 38 (c) of the Criminal procedure code, he shall complete the investigation within five days of the receipt of the order and return the file to the Public Prosecutor

8.    The Public Prosecutor

1) Notwithstanding the powers given to the Public Prosecutor under Article 38(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, he shall institute proceedings within ten days on receiving the investigation file.

2) Where the Public Prosecutor refuses to institute proceedings against the suspect, as per Article 42 (1) (a) of the Criminal procedure Code he shall cause the release of the suspect and report the same to the court.

9.    The Court

1) The court to which a vagrancy case is filed shall give judgment within a maximum of a four-month period of time since the institution of the proceedings.

2)   Where the suspect is found guilty of the crime and sentenced in accordance with Article 4 of this Proclamation, the court shall specify the rehabilitation center in which the sentence is to be executed.


The Commission and the Center

10.   Organization of the Center

A center for vagrants shall be established as an organ of the institution of the Federal Prisons’ Commission.

11.  Powers and duties of the Commission 

      The Commission shall:

1/   prepare and submit to the Minister of Federal Affairs plans concerning the activities of the rehabilitation center to transform vagrants, who are sent to the center, into law-abiding and productive citizenry;

2/   control and monitor the living conditions of prisoners and the implementation of rehabilitation measures;

3/  give the administrator of the rehabilitation center planning guidance that can help improve the custody and treatment of prisoners and evaluate the activities of the latter.

12.   Powers and Duties of the Center

        The Center shall:

        1/ receive and safeguard vagrants with a warrant of conviction by a court;

        2/ provide basic education, vocational training, civil education and social services to prisoners.  In addition, it may engage the prisoners in labor work that would bring about their rehabilitation;

3/  provide food, accommodation and free medical service to prisoners;

4/ encourage prisoners to develop self-respect and sense of responsibility;

5/ ensure that the accommodations and premises of prisoners are not hazardous to their health, and have fresh air and sufficient light;

6/ ensure that prisoners observe dis- ciplinary regulations issued by the center, and take measures on those who violate the regulations in accordance with the disciplinary rules of the Commission.



13.  Power to issue regulation and directives

       1/ The Council of Ministers may issue regulations for the implementation of this Proclamation with respect to the Center at the federal level.

2/   The Commission may issue directives for the implementation of this Proclamation.

14.   In applicable laws

Any laws, which are inconsistent with this Proclamation, shall not apply to matters provided for in this Proclamation.

15.  Effective Date

This Proclamation shall come into force as of the 27th day of January, 2004.

Done at Addis Ababa, 27th day of January, 2004.



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