On July 16, 1931, Ethiopia’s Emperor Haille Selassie I signed a new Constitution. Not exactly a model of limited government, the new document proved that the emperor was in keeping with the time, which was a period of weakening constitutional limits in America, Europe, and Britain. A flavor of the document can be gained by its most “rights-oriented” measures:
Art. 22. Within the limits laid down by the law, Ethiopian subjects have the right to pass freely from one place to the other.
Art. 23. No Ethiopian subject may be arrested, sentenced, or imprisoned except in pursuance of the law.
Art. 24. No Ethiopian subject may, against his will, be deprived of his right to be tried by a legally established court.
Art. 25. Except in cases provided for by law, no domiciliary searches may be made.
Art. 26. Except in cases provided by the law, no one shall have the right to violate the secrecy of the correspondence of Ethiopian subjects.
Art. 27. Except in cases of public necessity determined by the law, no one shall have the right to deprive an Ethiopian subject of any movable or landed property which he owns.Art. 28. All Ethiopian subjects have the right to present to the Government petitions in legal form.
Art. 29. The provisions of the present chapter shall in no way limit the measures which the Emperor, by virtue of his supreme power, may take in the event of war or public misfortunes menacing the interests of the nation.