“JUSTICE DELAYED MEANS JUSTICE DENIED” DISCOURSE
ON THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY’S STAND ON THE ERITRO-ETHIOPIAN BORDER CONFLICT
By: Fesseha kidane (Asmara university)
April 5, 2005
A period of seven years has elapsed, since the Eritro-Ethiopian border conflict
had entered the discourse of international politics. The conflict erupted, in
1998, over Ethiopian claims to Badime, which is uncontested Eritrea’s possession.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian regime forged its claim over it and tension began to
build up. Early attempt to diffuse the crisis, by a third party or international
organization, remained elusive, owing to the minimal and inapt role played by
the foretold parties and organizations, or to the recalcitrant Woyane juntas
determination and desire to pursue a ‘brinkmanship policy’ at any cost. As a
result of asset of pre-calculated political motives, the TPLF regime declared
war on Eritrea. The war was intermittently fought in three rounds, which finally
necessitated foreign intervention. As an outcome, through the good offices of
other parties, the belligerent states signed a ceasefire or armistice agreement
in Algiers in 2000.according to the terms in the treaty, the signatories agreed
to the secession of hostilities or truce and further agreed to settle their
case peacefully by referring it to higher international authority, notably,
the U.N. But despite early signs of progress in the initiatives taken by the
international community to settle the conflict, yet the conflict is not fully
and finally settled.
It is patent that the absence of a clearly demarcated boundary, abutting two countries, can lead to claims and counter claims, for territory, by both sides, which intern could pave the way to tension build up and finally, may backfire. But, the Eritro-Ethiopian border conflict does not fit into this general pattern. The reason for this discrepancy rests on the very fact that the territory abutting these two countries is precisely demarcated by the Italians and their contemporary counterpart Ethiopian emperors, during the colonial era. Due to this foretold reason, the territory abutting these countries does not admit any claims and counter claims, from both sides, to any piece of territory. Not only Italian colonial boundary treaties, but linguistic data too, bears a witness to this supposition. For example, Badime, the name of the locality over which the conflict erupted, etymologically is a bazin language, of the Kunama people living only in Eritrea, anglicized “fertile black soil.”
Having seen that Badime is uncontested and indisputable sovereign Eritrea territory, so, why the international community is damp and deaf to our case. Though the initial steps taken by the community, to settle the issue could not be defied or diminished, hitherto it is in a sort of limbo, leaving the conflict as a conflagration waiting for an incendiary spark.
The EEBC ruling on border delimitation is final and binding, meaning the belligerent states should, without any reservation, abide by the commission’s ruling. If one of the parties fails to do so, then the international community casts pressure and forces it towards that end, because no avenues of retreat are open to the belligerents. The assets needed to realize this include sanctions, embargo, boycott and if necessary military intervention, But despite the TPLF regime’s refusal and rejection of the EEBC ruling and the demarcation of the border, the international community took no steps to pressurize and force Ethiopia to comply with the Boundary Commission Ethiopia’s non – compliance is a tupical breach of international law . Can we say that, the international comminity is unable, unwilling, apathy; well an array of suggestions could be cited .For example, recently the Security Council passed resolution and pressurized Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, Who had been stationed there during the first half of the 1970S. Why, the international community does not play such a role and pressurizes Ethiopia to withdraw its troops from Badime, which has been proved by the Boundary Commission to be sovereign Eritrea possession. Based on the above argument, two things seem indisputable here: the first is that the International Community is disinclined to at an end to the Eritro-Ethiopian conflict, probably because it benefits from this political turbulence, which is commonly known as “the human scenario in international politics’, or it could be that it is not interested in it, because the International Community becomes International Community only when it proves that, there are things to be gained from you. Because the International Community’s calculated political self interest is viewed to be incompatible with the full peace that could be established between the two countries, and because the will of the International Community has to prevail over the will of others, this makes the People and Government of Eritrea to be deprived of, the justice they expect from the unjust, International Community. Justice delayed means justice denied.