Burdens of proof, presumptions and standards of proof in criminal cases
Wodage, Worku Yaze
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In jurisdictions that subscribe to adversarial mode of litigation, burdens and standards of proof have significant roles in the adjudication and determination of criminal cases. The operation of the principle of presumption of innocence in such jurisdictions determines issues of who bears what burden and the extent thereof. The Ethiopian criminal procedure system predominantly exhibits adversarial features, and there is the need for the comprehension and enforcement of the respective burdens and standards of proof borne by litigants. The constraints in clarity are more pronounced in those criminal law provisions that embrace some form of presumptions such as provisions on corruption offences. This note highlights how issues of burden and standard of proof are allocated as between prosecuting authorities and accused persons. Apart from explaining the nexus between the principle of presumption of innocence, burdens of proof and standards of proof, it indicates the implications of the operation of the principle of presumption of innocence upon the allocation of evidential and persuasive burdens of proof as between the state and the accused. It further outlines the effects of the various forms of presumptions upon the different kinds of burdens of proof.