International Community’s Tolerance Put Justice in Jeopardy
By: Eritrean Media Group in Holland
January 26, 2004

We are disappointed to witness that Ethiopia’s contemptuous rejection to the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission’s decision is being tolerated by the international community. Having delayed to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to abide by the commission's ruling and respect international law, the UN Security Council and the guarantors of the Algiers Agreement will be responsible for creating at best a NO-WAR and NO-PEACE situation in the Horn of Africa. But more fundamentally, if the international community in general and the UN’s Security Council in particular continue to be reluctant to give a clear and unequivocal message and to put a strong pressure on the Ethiopian government, then it would be too late to prevent the loss of life which will render the ruinous previous war moderate. We consider all subsequent statements of sorrow and regrets for the loss of life on the part of those who possess the means and shoulder the moral responsibility (and these are the guarantors of the Algiers Agreement) is no less than condoning and giving the green light for the fighting to resume on unprecedented scale. Will then the same guarantors call once again for reason to prevail and invite both countries to come to the negotiating table to resolve the matter by peaceful and legal means? What a travesty of justice! We urge now is the time to act decisively to spare the lives of thousands of people of both countries. We demand as members of the international community that people of both countries but more so the people of Eritrea deserve justice here and now!

It has been told multiple times that the EEBC’s decision is final and binding. If resolutions and rulings are not respected and implemented, it would be nothing more than a cynical gesture and is tantamount to a conscious submission to leave the legitimacy of and adherence to international law at the behest and discretion of minority regimes such the current one in Ethiopia. We want to stress that the cause of the UN is not promoted when UN’s Security Council finds itself in the awkward position of being forced to renounce and rewrite various resolutions that herself endorsed and committed to vigorously defend and take concrete measure that they be respected. Can the UN or the UNSC credibly convey a message to the Ethiopian regime that the rule of law is not the rule of jungle? Ethiopia’s outright rejection to the border ruling is a serious setback for the real role and authority of the UNSC.

Ethiopia’s Internal Problems

It is true that Ethiopia has more than enough problems such as: poverty, chronic famine, ethnic cleansing and so on. It is therefore welcome to aid Ethiopia more or less equal to the magnitude of its problems. But it is absolutely unacceptable that Ethiopia’s internal problems would be used as an excuse for the international community to accommodate Ethiopia's intransigence and to put to incalculable risk the Algiers peace agreement and erode the efficacy of the mechanisms of conflict resolution thereby marginalising the already weak international institutions and policy instruments.

The Ethiopian leaders are hiding behind the excuses of their internal problems. What we would like to ask any peace loving human being this: Is it not even the more jeopardous that Ethiopia is exploiting its internal problems in order to run away from solving the most crucial problem of the country which itself has created in the first place and a conflict that is draining its scarce resources not to mention the inevitable colossal loss of life for both countries? It is unethical and morally corrupt on the part of the guarantors of the Algiers peace agreement who to allow the TPLF regime to get away with its wild and uncivilised behaviour and to hold hostage the verdict of the Boundary Commission.

The Ethiopian government should not be allowed to exploit the situation by confusing the decision of the boundary commission with its own internal policy’s failure. If the Addis Ababa regime has enough internal problems whether it is political or economical, it is welcome that Ethiopia gets enough aid and support. But what goes on inside Ethiopia has nothing to do with what’s going on in the area of solving the border conflict of Ethiopia and Eritrea. As a matter fact, if the EEBC ruling is implemented, it would create favourable opportunities for both countries to concentrate on their internal developmental problems.

The Eritrean people cannot and should not live with the constant threat of invasion. Living in no-war and no-peace zone is precisely leading a suspended and hesitant life. If the implementation of the EEBC ruling is not realised, it would be adding an insult to injury for the thousands of internally displaced people in Eritrea who fled to the mountains in the face of the unruly Ethiopian invading army. These people are still living in makeshift camps hoping to return to their villages as soon as possible so that they can begin rebuilding their lives anew.

Last but not least, no peace will come to both countries while UN officials- including Kofi Annan remain reluctant to point the finger directly at Ethiopia, which has publicly rejected the EEBC ruling. Rather than saying “both countries should implement the Boundary Commission’s decision immediately.” Kofi Annan, who devoted every speech he made to denounce violence throughout the length and breadth of globe, should call a spade a spade and oblige Ethiopia to face the consequences of its lawlessness and contempt for international law.

We call the UNSC, the EU, the AU, the US and above all the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan to stop to use the misleading and disingenuous phrase “both countries”, because this is, without any doubt, a cruel hoax to pretend and blame both parties while Ethiopia is the one culprit which is breaking international law.

Eritreans in the Netherlands