The judicial system in Gambella has much improved. This is exemplified by the fact that a great number of pick pockets who usually scuttle through crowd at bus stations are no longer in existence partly because of the education many Gambellians had received in the last decade and the fact that people have now realised the consequences of their actions. However, Gambella judiciary is not tough enough to deter would be criminals. One of this dimness might be the customary laws which in fact over rule tougher sentences judges have to make especially when dealing with people who ended other’s lives as well as the rapist in certain scenarios. These kind of behaviours are predominantly prevalence and being kept in villages far away from Gambella wereda which situate the regional capital. That is not a good enough trajectory given that serious crimes such as those would still be committed as criminals would well understand that it would be a shared responsibility where individual consequences are not very much viewed as a satisfied punishment by victims or their family.
The Gambella Vision would like to see an overhaul of the judicial system where individuals who committ such crimes as heinous as murder and rape are held to account and given proper sentences without the need of their family to contribute anything like compensations which act as a leeway for judges to be too lenient.
Since the establishment of the Ethiopian Civil Service College in Addis Ababa, many Indigenous Gambellians have obtained degrees in law and many other fields at the Ethiopian Civil Service College and other universities. Yet it is sad to see that the acquired knowledge from those faculties are not being fully implemented. During my conversation with a judge, one of the reason he said why tougher sentences cannot be imposed was the interference of compensation made to the victim’s family by the offender or his family when it comes to murder cases. The other reason is that people from rural Gambella are not used to lodge statements about what happen to them or their love ones. In this regard, judges cannot do anything when there are no persecution team or victims against the accused offenders.
The Gambella Vision would like to see a change of this mind-set so that Gambella becomes a better place for us all. An awareness campaign needs to be implemented so that the majority of Gambella people could become aware about what they can and cannot do when it comes to law and order. For now especially in weredas outside Gambella, people do not very much know what rights they have or what they cannot do. Law and order needs to start from someone else’s house respecting your child or your wife and not raise a hand against them because this is again an abuse of vulnerable people and a punishable offence in some parts of the country or world. Despite the high number of law graduates who work in the Gambella Supreme court where their knowledge and experiences in judiciary could be used, one has yet to see a judge in Gambella punishing those who beat up their wives or children although it is a common behaviour throughout the region.
Another areas which needs improvement is that murderers should not be allowed to walk outside while still they are serving their sentences. It is in fact particularly worse when they are allowed to walk outside visit their homes and have love with their partners while the dead person he/she killed is there in the grave not having any luxury the criminal is enjoying. If this kind of activity is allowed then what would one think would deter future criminals in committing crimes like that nature?
The Gambella state parliament has to work on this if they want to restore peace in Gambella communities by passing laws that would give the police and the court greater power in locking up criminals in considerable period proportional to their crimes. They also need to stop releasing criminals during the day regardless of how much rehabilitated they are otherwise people might think taking matters to their hands. The Nuer in particular would need to abandon the customary laws which override tougher sentences especially compensation to the victim’s family and let the modern Ethiopian law take its course.