May 31, 2013

Contravention of International Law, an Embarrassment to The International Community

Contravention of International Law, an Embarrassment to The International Community

Contravention of International Law, an Embarrassment to The International CommunityAs  the  flagrant  invasion  over  Eritrea,  which  was  carried on  from  May  1998  to  June  2000,  was  dealt  a  blowing  re-buff, it is to be noted that a comprehensive peace agreement aimed at resolving the alleged border dispute was concluded in  December  2000  in Algiers.  The Algiers Agreement  was reached  following  the  mediation  by  representatives  of  the international  community–the  United  Nations  and  African Union–to which the US Administration, the European Union and the Government of Algeria are signatory guarantors for the said accord to enter into effect.

The Algiers Agreement is a treaty by which a five-membered  neutral  Boundary  Commission  was  established  with a mandate to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border  based  on  pertinent  colonial  treaties  (1900,  1902  and 1908) and applicable international law. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission–EEBC–formed subsequently in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Algiers Peace Agreement,  rendered  its  delimitation  decision  on  13 April 2002  after  a  lengthy  litigation  process  between  the  parties over a period of 14 months.
What should have come next to the EEBC ruling was de-limitation of the border. According to the time frame set by the Boundary Commission, final delimitation should have taken until November 2003, thereby closing the adversarial case. Nevertheless, blatant agenda of keeping Eritrea hostage to continued military tension has obstructed implementation of the EEBC Decision.  Those hostile acts were, however, not limited to thwarting the delimitation process. Boundless pressures were imposed in order for the Boundary Commission to get derailed from the legal course. Consequently, the Boundary Commission was compelled to undergo trying moments in the effort to fulfill its mandate.

Faced  with  insurmountable  Ethiopian  obstructions,  and undertaking its responsibility under the Algiers Agreement, the  Boundary  Commission  ended  its  operations  on  25 Au-gust 2008 by filing its twenty-seventh and final report to the Secretary-General. The Commission concluded its work on delimitation and demarcation of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border in November 2007 using modern techniques of image processing and terrain modeling in conjunction with the use of high resolution aerial photographs by identifying boundary points both through grid and geographical coordinates.

In  a  letter  to  the  parties    and    the    Secretary    General  of  the  UN,   the Commission solemnly concludes: “It hereby  determines that the boundary will automatically stand as demarcated  {virtually}  by  the    boundary    pillars  hereto    and  that  the  mandate  of  the Commission can then be regarded as fulfilled.” Subsequently,  signed  copies  of  45  maps  on  a  scale    of    1:25,000    containing    the    demarcation  of    the  boundary by coordinates were sent to the parties on November 30, 2007. A copy was also deposited with the United Nations as well as another copy for public reference is retained in the Office of the U.N Cartographer.
In his Report of January 22, 2007, UN Secretary General  stated: “Ethiopia’s refusal to implement – fully and without  preconditions – the final and binding decision of the Boundary Commission remains at the core of the continuing dead-lock”.

In its 16th report to the United Nations, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission on its part wrote:  “Ethiopia is not prepared to allow demarcation to continue in the manner laid down in the Demarcation Directions and in accordance with the timeline set by the Commission. … Ethiopia proposes that “an alternative mechanism to demarcate the contested parts of the boundary” be set up. Such an alternative mechanism would involve a departure from, and thus an amendment to, the terms of Article 4.2 of the Algiers Agreement,  which  gives  the  Commission  the  mandate  to  demarcate  the  boundary.  Moreover, Ethiopia’s reference to “the contested boundary” can only be understood as a reference to those parts of the boundary to which it alone and unilaterally takes exception: no part of the boundary is “contested” by both Parties.”

As  it  is  articulated  in  the  Algiers  Agreement  Article  4 Paragraph 15 and Article 5 Paragraph 7, the Eritrea Ethiopia  Boundary Commission (EEBC) has unanimously delivered its  Final  and  Binding  Delimitation  and  Demarcation  Decisions  and  November  2007,  and  therefore,  there  is  no  con-tested or disputed border between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The Boundary Commission also gave its testimony in its  final  report  that  no  acts  whatsoever,  other  than  the  failure to  discharge  responsibilities  by  representatives  of  the  international community and guarantors of the Algiers Peace Agreement throughout its mandate, have been committed by Eritrea. Eritrea, in a letter dated July 1, 2008, and addressed to  the  Eritrea-Ethiopia  Boundary  Commission,  stated  that Ethiopia’s unfortunate refusal to cooperate with the Boundary  Commission  in  the  task  of  delimitation  would  by  no means rule out the final and binding nature of the Award.

In  the  wake  of  Ethiopia’s  repudiation  of  abiding  by  the law,  the  Government  of  Eritrea  confirmed  to  the  President of  the  Commission  that  Eritrea  has  received  signed    copies  of  45  maps  on  a scale  of  1:25,000  containing  the demarcation  of    the  boundary  by  coordinates  sent  to  both adversarial parties and the UN pursuant to the final Award of the Boundary Commission, as well as asserted that Eritrea  regards  the  Commission  to  have  fulfilled  its  mandate. Accordingly, the Commission’s mandate is deemed to have  been fully executed. In the same spirit, Eritrea reiterated in the letter that it would, in pursuit of its legal right, carry on to push the UN Security Council to bring the invasion over sovereign  Eritrean  territory  to  an  end.  Eritrea  also  lauded the Commission to have undertaken its mandate as per the terms of the Algiers Agreement under such debilitating circumstances.

The supposedly border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia  is  thus  an Award  concluded  11  years  ago  and  virtually demarcated  six  years  ago. As  the  Commission  pointed  out in its final letter, any encroachment whatsoever towards the legally demarcated Eritrean territory is answerable and tantamount to occupation. To date, in stark violation of international law and its obligations under the Algiers Agreement, Ethiopia continues to occupy Eritrean territories. The people and  Government  of  Eritrea  shall  maintain  the  unflinching legal  national  rebuff  against  such  unwarranted  acts  by  the invader.

The violation against and rebuke of the international legal instruments  witnessed  in  the  implementation  of  the  EEBC Decision  is  an  embarrassing  account  of  the  so-called  civilized  conventions  of  the  international  community.  Despite the  United  Nations,  a  linchpin  that  assumed  responsibility as  a  guarantor  and  witness  of  the Algiers Agreement,  is  to blame  for  the  complications  created  in  the  implementation process of the EEBC’s mandate and the resulting repercussions in the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the US Administration, which is using the UN as an instrument, is primarily answerable to the role Washington played at short-circuiting the implementation of the demarcation for reasons it is well aware of. This fact is endorsed by John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN.

Ambassador John   Bolton, former US Permanent Representative to the UN, in   his   book “Surrender  is  not  an  Option:  Defending America  at  the  United  Nations”,  recounts how a US initiative to render the Algiers Agreement useless was being forwarded by the Department of State and pushed in  the  UN  Security  Council.  In regard to the border issue between Eritrea and Ethiopia, he noted:
“I certainly had no favorite, but it seemed that Eritrea had a point. Ethiopia had agreed on a mechanism to resolve  the border dispute  in 2000 and now was welching on its deal in flat violation of its commitments…I said we should solve the problem and not let it fester forever, France, Japan and several other Council members agreed with me… For reasons I never understood, however, [Jendayi] Frazer [then Assistant Secretary for Africa] reversed course, and asked in early February [2005] to reopen the 2002 EEBC decision, which she had concluded was wrong, and award a major piece of disputed territory to Ethiopia. I was at a loss how to explain that  to  the  Security  Council,  so  I  didn’t,  simply  asking  in February  for  another  thirty-day  extension  of  the  UNMEE status quo while the “U.S. initiative” continued.”

Information the online group WikiLeaks recently released only reaffirmed the fact the people of Eritrea is already mindful of. It further points out that at a meeting the representatives of the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden held in November 2009, the US representative, beyond stat-ing Ethiopia is an indispensable ally of the US in East Africa, underscored that this same administration would want to sustain the border dispute frozen. Even though these facts count upon official documents of the US, the Administration in  Washington  has  been  forwarding  tremendous  military, economic, political and diplomatic nurturing to the subservient  regime  that  has  been  trampling  on  the  rule  of  law  at its bidding. The UN Security Council, more often than not, imposed sanctions unabashedly on Eritrea at the behest of the US for questioning the rule of law and international legal instruments.
Accounts  of  the  past  11  years  recount  in  a  nutshell  utter  failure  of  the  parties,  especially  the  United  States,  that have  been  indulged  in  flagrant  violation  of  international laws  and  charters  on  multiple  standards  for  geo-political interests  through  engaging  in  vicious  cycles  of  subversion of the rule of law. At a time when the consciousness of the Eritrean people has been proven outmaneuvering to all acts of conspiracy, attempts resorted to subversion of the rule of law are as yet underway. But being on the run through the avenue of miscarriage until when?

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