ERITREA: DEMARCATION DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED

THE EEBC DECISION TEN YEARS LATER AND ETHIOPIA'S ILLEGAL OCCUPATION:
ERITREA: DEMARCATION DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED
By Yemane Abselom
APRIL 13, 2012

In May 1998, Ethiopian troops fired and shot on an Eritrean platoon on routine duty along the border town of Badme killing several of its members. The Eritrean government's response was one of patience and a resolute determination to resolve the matter peacefully. However, the minority led Ethiopian government's response was a declaration of an all out war on Eritrea under the pretext that Eritrea had invaded undefined Ethiopian territory that later was concocted as "Badme and its environs". The minority led Ethiopian government had hoped a war with Eritrea would give it the legitimacy it had failed to achieve domestically through its divisive and ethnocentric governance.

After a catastrophic bloodshed, the case went for arbitration to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, the highest court of arbitration in the world. The independent boundary commission that was setup with the consent of the Ethiopian government rendered its unanimous, final and binding decision on April 13, 2002. The ruling of the commission has shown, without a doubt, that the town of Badme was a sovereign Eritrean territory. According to that decision, the government of Ethiopia was in fact found to be the aggressor that was illegally occupying Eritrean territory.

Today is April 13, 2012 and it has been 10 years since the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague passed its final and binding decision. The ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration is not only final and binding as agreed upon by both parties, but it is also guaranteed by the United Nations, United States, the African Union and the European Union. No other agreement had such a backing and support of the world community. Yet, the United Nations and its powerful security council member, the United States, have not only allowed Ethiopia to renege on the agreement it signed but to remain in occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories for the last ten years.

To add insult to injury, the United Nations also passed two resolutions, resolution 1907 and resolution 2023 that:

1. Limit Eritrean ability for self defense, especially as Ethiopia continues to occupy its sovereign territories and threatens its existence as a sovereign country.

2. Limiting the government of Eritrea's ability to improve the standard of living of its people by restricting international investments in the booming mining sector and the restriction of remittance of its citizens abroad.

If the people of Eritrea have felt wronged by the world body and especially the United States when the United Nations federated Eritrea with Ethiopia in 1950, setting off the 30 years of independence war, it has not fared any better today. No lessons have been learned by US leaders or the international community.

Today, thousands of Eritreans have been displaced by the continued occupation of Eritrean territories by Ethiopia. Ethiopia continues to threaten Eritrea's existence by provoking the nation through cross border raids, killing innocent civilians and open support of known terrorist groups. The world body continues to remain silent to the continued injustice against Eritrea today as it has in the past.

If the United States wants to be taken seriously as a broker of peace in the world, then it must enforce agreements it guarantees and force its ally Ethiopia to allow the physical demarcation of the border to proceed in accordance with the delimitation and demarcation decisions it witnessed and guaranteed. Justice demands that agreements signed in good faith be respected.