Duquesne University School of Law

Ethiopian project by Beru and Junker moves ahead

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Duquesne University awarded Tsegaye Beru and Kirk Junker a Rev. Alphons Loogman faculty grant in 2016 for a preliminary study of the 1995 Ethiopian constitution and its customary laws. Beru is associate director for faculty research and outreach services at the Duquesne Center for Legal Information and the Allegheny County Law Library. Junker is the School of Law’s international program coordinator, based at the University of Cologne in Germany.  Associate Dean Frank Liu provided additional support for the Ethiopia Project. 

The two professors traveled to Ethiopia October 12-30 to research how the Ethiopian constitution has been interpreted by the House of Federation (HOF), the Commission of Constitutional Inquiry (CCI), and the country’s federal courts. Additionally, the two investigated the importance of the constitutionally-recognized customary laws of Ethiopia with special consideration for environmental matters. A series of questions were presented to professors who were experts on constitutional, customary, and environmental laws.  

In Tigray, the team also conducted site visits to a social court and local government environmental office, as well as an interview with a village elder who applied customary law. The answers obtained during these interviews, site visits, and focus group will form the basis of a forthcoming article to be published in a peer-evaluated journal, as well as the basis for a book chapter, which Junker has been commissioned to co-author with Eskedar Awgichew in Environmental Law and Regulation, Nicholas Robinson, Editor, Thomson Reuters. In addition to other work, Beru successfully pursued having Addis Law Review included in HeinOnline during the trip.  

A memorandum of understanding is now in place between the Mekelle Law School in Ethiopia and Cologne University in Germany. The October 16 document specifies a partnership between the Natural Resources Master’s Program at the University of Mekelle and the International Masters of Environmental Science Program of the University of Cologne for the purpose of jointly undertaking research in Ethiopia and Germany, as well as to foster cooperation in education and study program and promote bilateral ties between Mekelle and Cologne. Beru, a native of Ethiopia, spearheaded Duquesne University's initial support of the project and provides ongoing legal research support. 

Faculty Referenced In Article

Tsegaye Beru, M.L.I.S., J.D.Associate Director for Faculty Research and Outreach Services, Center for Legal Information and Allegheny County Law Library, and Adjunct Professor
Kirk Junker, J.D., Ph.D.International Programs Coordinator