The Role of Mental Health Court in the Protection of Human Rights of Persons with Mental Disability in Ethiopia

Dhugassa, Aberash (2015) The Role of Mental Health Court in the Protection of Human Rights of Persons with Mental Disability in Ethiopia. Masters thesis, Addis Ababa University.

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Mentally disabled persons are entitled to fundamental rights and freedoms that are provided under international, regional and domestic human rights instruments on equal footing with other members of the society. Despite this fact, persons with mental disability are the marginalized and ostracized group of society. As a result there is high probability of human rights violation against this group. Mentally disabled persons may refuse treatment for their problems because the disorder may impair their decision making capacity. Thus, persons with mental disability deserve more attention and protection from state. In Western Europe and North America there was deinstitutionalization movement in the latter half of 20th century as a result of which many mental healthcare institutions were underfunded and the number of mental healthcare was reduced. Consequently, the number of persons with mental disability has increased tremendously. This on the other hand increased the number of mentally disabled persons’ involvement in the criminal justice system. Mentally disabled persons were incarcerated for minor offences. They were revolving in the criminal justice system for the reason that criminal justice system focuses on punishment rather than treatment. To tackle this problem, Mental Health Court which was modeled after drug courts had been established in USA and Canada. Mental Health Court was established with the objective of treating the root cause of criminal behavior rather than punishment. It has been therapeutic jurisprudence which advocates that the justice system should deal with the main cause that makes a person to interact with the criminal justice system. Unlike traditional justice system, Mental Health Court participants are required to undergo treatment if the accused successfully completed the treatment plan s/he would be released from criminal responsibility. Otherwise, s/he would be sent back to traditional system. Mental Health Courts have been expanding rapidly. In Ethiopia Mental Health Court was established in May 2015. The court was established under Federal First Instance Court Lideta Division in collaboration with Addis Ababa University Health Science College Psychiatry Department. The court has three main objectives. Firstly it determines the fitness of accused to stand trial. Secondly it examines whether accused person is criminally responsible or not while the third objective is diversion of accused to treatment if s/he is found to be mentally disabled. This research paper evaluates the role of mental health court in the protection of the human rights of persons with mental disability in Ethiopia. In the course of this, the researcher has identified a more relevant case which the Mental Health Court Bench decided to show how the establishment of the court has brought change in the protection of the right to bail, right to health, brotherhood spirit, reintegration of the accused to the society and peace and security of the society.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Persons with Mental Disability, Mental Health Court, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Human Rights
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Africana
Depositing User: Emmanuel Ndorimana
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2018 06:27
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2018 06:27

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