Article 100 of the UN Charter-Violated by UNSG Kofi Annan and Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi not Eritrea
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
December 13, 2005

Today marks 5 years since Eritrea and Ethiopia signed the Algiers Agreements on 12 December 2000. The Algiers Agreements were signed by H.E. President Isaias Afwerki for Eritrea and by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for Ethiopia and witnessed and guaranteed by Secretary General Kofi Annan representing the United Nations, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of the Democratic Republic of Algeria, President Obasanjo of Nigeria, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright representing the United States, Secretary General, Salim Ahmed Salim representing the OAU, and Senator Renato Serri representing the European Union.

Unfortunately the Algiers Peace Agreements have not been implemented completely due to Ethiopia's continued intransigence and the international community, especially the Security Council's inability to enforce its own resolutions and international law. The Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict was legally resolved through the final and binding decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission on 13 April 2002. Today, demarcation, the technical matter of placing markers on the ground at pre-determined areas on the common border has yet to begin. Ethiopia has rejected the final and binding decision of the EEBC, refused to allow demarcation to proceed and the border remains un-demarcated.

It should be recalled that in its 16th Report of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission to the Security Council on 24 February 2005, the EEBC said:

"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. It now insists on prior "dialogue" but has rejected the opportunity for such "dialogue" within the framework of the demarcation process provided by the Commission's proposal to meet with the Parties on 22 February. This is the latest in a series of obstructive actions taken since the summer of 2002 and belies the frequently professed acceptance by Ethiopia of the Delimitation Decision...The Commission also observed as regards Badme village, which the Commission had found to lie on the Eritrean side of the boundary... to conclude that despite the words used by Ethiopia [in emphasizing that it was concerned only with the demarcation process] it is presenting its dissatisfaction with the boundary as substantively laid down in the delimitation decision in the form of procedural impediments to the demarcation process which it is not entitled to interpose... ...Though undemarcated, this line is binding upon both Parties, subject only to the minor qualifications expressed in the Delimitation Decision, unless they agree otherwise. Conduct inconsistent with this boundary line is unlawful..."

Instead of enforcing its own resolutions and assisting the EEBC to perform its duties of demarcating the border by urging Ethiopia to cooperate with the EEBC, the Security Council is today trying to punish the victim, Eritrea, rather than the culprit, Ethiopia. Instead of pressuring Ethiopia to pay its dues, deploy its liaison officers and allow the EEBC to return to the area, re-open its offices and fulfill its mandate of demarcation, Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Security Council have decided to instead to dwell on tangential issues such as "troop movements" and "UNMEE helicopters".

As if Eritrea was not cognizant of the UN Charter and Eritrea's obligations and rights under that Charter, insulting the people of Eritrea, and attempting to white wash their own inadequacies and misrepresenting the UN Charter, Kofi Annan and his staff in a 7 December 2005 Statement said:

"...The Secretary-General stresses that this request contravenes Eritrea's obligation under the United Nations Charter to respect the exclusively international character of United Nations staff...the most important thing is that Eritrea's request is a direct violation of Eritrea's obligations under Article 100 of the UN Charter. That article asks all Member States "to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff..."

Kofi Annan and his Spokesperson know very well that Eritrea's decision on restriction of UNMEE movement and the expulsion of certain UNMEE employees nationalities is not in contravention of Eritrea's obligations under any Article of the United Nations Charter, the Algiers Agreement and most certainly not under Article 100 that the Secretary General and his staff have chosen to invoke and misrepresent. But since he brought it up, let us look at what Article 100 of the UN Charter says. It clearly states:

"...1. In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization..."

"...2. Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities..."

By "exclusively international character", the UN Charter is simply calling on the members and staff to adhere to international laws and the UN Charter.

It is a matter of public record that the Ethiopian regime led by the defiant, vote rigging, flip flopping deceptive Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi has violated Article 100 several times with the acquiescence of the Secretary General and his envoy Legwaila Joseph Legwaila. The Secretary General and Legwaila Joseph Legwaila have advanced the illicit and arrogant demands of Meles Zenawi and have abused the power and services of their offices to promote Meles Zenawi's illegal agendas against Eritrea in violation of the Algiers Agreement, Article 100 of the UN Charter, compromising the neutrality, credibility and integrity of the United Nations..

For the record and at the risk of repeating myself, I would like to present the following instances wherein the Secretary General and his envoy Legwaila Joseph Legwaila have acted not in an "exclusively international character", but rather as spokespersons and apologists for the deceptive, defiant, flip flopping, vote-rigging, leader of the minority regime in Ethiopia.

 I.      Establishment of the Temporarily Security Zone (TSZ)

The Cessation of Hostilities Agreement required that Ethiopia deploy its forces to the pre-May 6th 1998 position, and Eritrea was to rearrange Eritrea's forces to 25 kilometers from the Ethiopian positions. When UNMEE provided both sides the deployment maps, Ethiopia refused to accept the maps and insisted on adjustments to the southern boundary of the TSZ. On 18 April 2001 Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, instead of remaining neutral and simply reporting Ethiopia's defiance, neglecting his "exclusively international character", announced the "establishment" of the TSZ and further defended his obvious bias towards Ethiopia by saying:

 "I told you that we have negotiated with Ethiopians insofar as that portion of Irob where we discovered they were sitting after we had verified the redeployment. We negotiated, and we discovered that it was a waste of time because they are not going to move out of there. They say they are where the 6 May 1998 line of administration was, and they are not going to move out, so what is the use of continuing to insist that they should move out when they are literally saying you dare move us out of it...Nobody wants to fight the Ethiopians out of that area and therefore we have told the President that this is a typical candidate for the Border Commission. That is the only solution, because to mortgage the creation of the TSZ, the progress of the peace process generally, to a resolution of the Irob issue would be tantamount to saying you don't want to create the TSZ, you don't want the peace process to go forward." 

From the very beginning, instead of enforcing the Algiers Agreement, which clearly calls for punitive actions to be taken if either party fails to fulfill its obligations, the Secretary General who chose to appease his personal friend, the defiant Prime Minister of Ethiopia is today presuming to lecture Eritrea on Article 100! How audacious!

II.      The issue of direct flights between the two capitals

On 15 January 2000 UNMEE released this statement:  
"The United Nations
Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) today opened a direct high altitude air access route between Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Asmara, Eritrea. The air route was established with flights between the two capitals by UN G-222 fixed-wing aircraft.  
The new access route, and all the land and air access routes that have been opened between the two countries to date, are to be used in support of UNMEE's mandated activities, including deployment of the 4,200 UN peacekeepers between the two forces, and meeting the peacekeepers' logistical and medical needs.

But then on January 17th, 2001 just two days after the commencement of direct flights, the leader of the minority regime in Ethiopia reneged on his stated commitments under the Algiers Agreement and UNMEE was forced to issue another press release. This is what they had to say then in response to Meles Zenawi's flip flop:

"The Eritrean authorities have been willing to authorise UNMEE flights by the direct route between the two capitals used by commercial flights before hostilities began in 1998. The Ethiopian authorities have been willing to authorise UNMEE flights by a route requiring a diversion...The Ethiopian authorities remain unwilling to allow use of the direct route without diversion..."

Again, instead of maintaining his "exclusively international character", the Secretary General, in his quarterly progress reports on Eritrea and Ethiopia to the Security Council, putting the defiant party, Ethiopia, on equal par with the compliant party, Eritrea, decided to misrepresent the truth (cover up Ethiopia's intransigence) by calling on the Security Council to "...urge the two parties to allow direct flights". 

 III.      Eviction of Jean Victor Nkolo, first UNMEE spokesperson, by Ethiopia

Shortly after the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) delivered its final and binding decision on 13 April 2004 re-affirming Eritrea's sovereignty over Badme, a group of journalist visited Badme. As if Jean Victor Nkolo, the first UNMEE Spokesperson, had violated his mandate by taking the journalist there, the vote-rigging genocidal, deceptive minority regime in Ethiopia immediately demanded the removal of Jean Victor Nkolo from the area. He was not even allowed enough time to pack his belongings and say goodbye to his Ethiopian friends and colleagues. The Secretary General, appeasing his friend Meles immediately replaced Mr. Nkolo, violating the "exclusively international character" of Mr. Nkolo. The international community did not register a single protest, let alone call for an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

  IV.      Eviction of Major General Patrick Cammaert

Constantly testing the waters and getting away with all its defiant and arrogant demands, in violation of the "exclusively international character" of the Secretary General's office and confident that he can get away with making even more defiant and arrogant demands, Meles Zenawi requested the removal of Major General Patrick Cammaert, the first UNMEE Force Commander. Ethiopia also closed the border to UNMEE and obstructed UNMEEís movement and Major General Cammaert's ability to carry out his mandate of monitoring and observing the troops on both sides. Here is an excerpt from a BBC report at the time:

"The UN is to appoint a new commander for its peacekeeping mission on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border...This follows increasing pressure from the Ethiopian Government to replace the current commander, Major-General Patrick Cammaert, who has been unofficially declared persona non grata by Ethiopia...Addis Ababa accusing General Cammaert of "political bias" in favour of Eritrea...In April, Ethiopia closed its to the UN peacekeepers stationed at the border for 10 days...They demanded the removal of General Cammaert, a Dutch soldier, accusing him of "political bias...Ethiopian officials accused him of "deliberately trying to humiliate Ethiopia"...Ethiopia said that by crossing the border from Eritrea into the Ethiopian village without prior permission, the UN was implying that Badme was Eritrean..."

Again, in violation of Article 100, the Secretary General obliged Meles' defiant request and the Force Commander was immediately replaced. The Secretary General did not issue any urgent "alerts", "calls", and did not call for emergency meeting of the Security Council, nor did he send envoys to impress on Meles that the Force Commander's actions were consistent with international law and his actions were "exclusively international in character". 

V.            Illegal appointment of Lloyd Axworthy in response to Meles Zenawi's request for an "alternative mechanism"

While it is clearly stated in the Algiers Agreement that the delimitation and demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border is the sole mandate and responsibility of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC), insulting and questioning the competency and capacity of the internationally recognized members of the Commission as a body that is "in terminal crisis", the vote rigging, defiant, belligerent spoilt child of the West, Meles Zenawi, in violation of the "exclusively international character" of the Secretary General's office, wrote a letter to Kofi Annan on 19 September 2003 insulting the EEBC, calling the decision "unfair, unjust and illegal" and requesting an "alternative mechanism" to demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border.

In violation of his mandate and the "exclusively international character" of his offices, succumbing to Meles' transparent request, and attempting to hijack the sole mandate of the EEBC to demarcate the border, Kofi Annan appointed Lloyd Axworthy to serve as his special envoy to Eritrea and Ethiopia to help "overcome the impasse" or Meles Zenawi's self-created "crisis", by demanding "dialogue" to amend, change, revisit and re-negotiate the final and binding decision in violation of Article 4.15 of the Algiers Agreement which clearly said:

"...The parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Commission shall be final and binding. Each party shall respect the border so determined, as well as the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the other party..."

Influenced by his friend Meles Zenawi, Secretary General Kofi Annan violated the "exclusive international character" of his office and despite repeated and stated objections by Eritrea, appointed Lloyd Axworthy as his Special Envoy to Eritrea and Ethiopia.

  VI.      The troop movements by Ethiopia and the Secretary Generalís attempts to divert attention of the Ethiopian people

Creating unnecessary anxiety upon the people of Ethiopia and in a futile attempt to divert their attention away from Meles Zenawi's murderous campaign in Ethiopia, acting in violation of the "exclusively international character" of his office, and acting as the unofficial spokesperson for the beleaguered Menelik Palace clique, knowing full well that it was Ethiopia that had moved its troops to the border as well as to sovereign Eritrean territories, Kofi Annan issued diversionary "alerts", "statements", and called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council calling, not on Ethiopia to cease and desist its illegal actions and to allow demarcation of the Eritrean Ethiopia border without any preconditions and further delay, but rather to call on Eritrea to rescind its ban on UNMEE helicopters and rescind its expulsion of certain UNMEE members. 

VII.      Ethiopia's continued belligerent occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories

In violation of the Algiers Agreement and the UN Charter which calls on both countries to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of each state, Ethiopia has been militarily occupying sovereign Eritrean territories including Badme ever since the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission delivered its final and binding decision on 13 April 2002. Neglecting his duties and his mandate to uphold the UN Charter, and remain "exclusively international in character", the Secretary General has not issued a single urgent call, alert, statement etc. nor has he called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council to address Ethiopia's violations and Eritrea's right to self defense. Instead he has provided a political and diplomatic buffer for Ethiopia and is still doing so today, further undermining the integrity and credibility of the United Nations, and Eritrea's confidence in its ability to enforce international law and its own resolutions and decisions.

Today the issue in the news is in regards to the UN Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE). In my opinion, the issues of UNMEE and the TSZ have become irrelevant and moot since the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission delivered its final and binding decision of 13 April 2002. The suspension of UNMEE's activities by Eritrea is legal and protected under the Article 26b of the Geneva Convention on treaties allows Eritrea:

" the party affected by the breach (Ethiopia's refusal to abide by the final and binding verdict, obstruction of the demarcation process) to invoke it as a ground for suspending the operation of the treaty (Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities-UNMEE operations) in whole or in part in the relations between itself and the defaulting State (Ethiopia) or international organization (United Nations and African Union)..."

According to the Geneva Convention on Treaties:

"..A material breach of a treaty is a ....violation of a provision essential to the accomplishment of the object or purpose of the treaty..."

Since the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission has closed its offices and left the area, and the only thing remaining is the technical matter of demarcation, which has been prevented from taking place by Ethiopia with the support of the Secretary General Kofi Annan,  there is no legal reason why UNMEE should be allowed to remain on sovereign Eritrean territories indefinitely.

In addition, the Security Council has refused to enforce the EEBC decision leaving the implementation of the decision up to the "two parties", despite repeated appeals and calls by Eritrea for the UN to shoulder its legal and moral responsibilities, it has not functioned in an "exclusively international character" and has instead appeased Meles Zenawi and the vote rigging minority regime in Ethiopia creating this very dangerous situation and precedence.

Eritrea's inherent right to self defense is protected by the UN Charter and any actions taken by Eritrea should be commended, not condemned. It is Ethiopia that should be condemned for its intransigence and violation of international law and the international community should shoulder its legal and moral responsibilities. The Security Council and Secretary General should act in an "exclusively international character" and treat its member State Eritrea equally and fairly.  

The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!