Algiers Agreement (2000)

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Algiers Agreement
Agreement between the Government of the State of Eritrea and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Signed 12 December 2000
Location Algiers
Signatories Government of Eritrea and Government of Ethiopia.

The Algiers Agreement was a peace agreement between the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia signed on December 12, 2000, at Algiers, Algeria to formally end the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, a border war fought by the two countries from 1998 to 2000. (See also: History of Eritrea.) In the agreement the two parties reaffirmed the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities which had been signed on 18 June 2000.[1]

The Algiers Agreement provided for the exchange of prisoners and the return of displaced persons as well as establishing a Boundary Commission to demarcate the border and a Claims Commission to assess damagers caused by the conflict.[1]

The purpose of the agreement was to:

  • end/terminate hostilities permanently and agree to refrain from the threat or use of force.
  • respect and fully implement the provisions of an agreement on cessation of hostilities signed on June 18, 2000.
  • release and repatriate all prisoners of war and all other persons detained.
  • provide humane treatment to each other's nationals and persons of each other's national origin within their respective territories.

The agreement established two neutral commissions: the Boundary Commission, and the Claims Commission.

Each commission was composed of five members and located in The Hague, the Netherlands. Each country was to appoint two commissioners who were not nationals of the country. The president of each commission was selected by the other commissioners. Provision was made that if they failed to agree on a president within 30 days, the Secretary-General of the United Nations would appoint a president after consultation with the parties.

Boundary Commission[edit]

The two governments agreed to determine the origins of the conflict by allowing an investigation incidents of 1997 and 1998 and earlier regarding their common border. The investigation would be carried out by an independent, impartial body, known as the Ethiopian-Eritrean Boundary Commission (EEBC), appointed by the Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in consultation with the Secretary General of the United Nations and the two parties.

The two governments reaffirmed the principle of respect for the borders existing at independence, and that the border was to be determined on the basis of colonial treaties and applicable international law by the EEBC. The United Nations Cartographer would serve as Secretary to the EEBC, and undertake such tasks as assigned to him by the Commission, making use of the technical expertise of the UN Cartographic Unit.

Each party provided its claims and evidence to the Secretary, who provided to the EEBC his findings based on this evidence, identifying those portions of the border where there appeared to be no dispute between the parties. Where there was disagreement, the parties presented written and oral submissions and any additional evidence directly to the EEBC.

Upon reaching a final decision regarding delimitation of the borders, the EEBC transmitted its decision to the parties and Secretaries General of the OAU and the UN, and the EEBC would arrange for demarcation. The parties agreed that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the EEBC would be final and binding. Each party agreed to respect the border so determined, as well as the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the other party.

The EEBC issued a final border ruling in 2003, but its decision was rejected by Ethiopia. As of August 2004, the border question remained in dispute, although a tentative peace continued. By November 2007 the EEBC concluded the demarcation phase of the Algiers Agreement.[2] As of that date, Ethiopia had not withdrawn its troops from those positions on the Eritrean side of the demarcated border.[3]

However, as of September 2007, Ethiopia considered Eritrea to be in breach of the agreement, and warned that it could use this as grounds to terminate or suspend the agreement.[4] In December 2007, an estimated 4000 Eritrean troops remained in the 'demilitarized zone' with a further 120,000 along its side of the border. Ethiopia maintained 100,000 troops along its side.[5]

Claims Commission[edit]

A neutral Claims Commission was also established. The mandate of the Commission was to decide through binding arbitration all claims for loss, damage or injury by one Government against the other, and by nationals of one party against the Government of the other party or entities owned or controlled by the other party that were (a) related to the conflict, and (b) resulted from violations of international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions, or other violations of international law.

The Commission would not hear claims arising from the cost of military operations, preparing for military operations, or the use of force, except to the extent that such claims involve violations of international humanitarian law.

Claims were submitted to the Commission by each of the parties on its own behalf and on behalf of its nationals within one year from the effective date of the agreement, and with certain exceptions, the Commission was to be the only forum for such claims. In appropriate cases, the parties could file claims on behalf of persons of Eritreans or Ethiopian origin who were not nationals.

The Commission was authorized to develop its own methods of efficient case management and mass claims processing. The Commission was to endeavor to complete its work within three years of the date when the period for filing claims closes. The Commission was to apply relevant rules of international law.

Decisions and awards of the Commission were final and binding. The parties agreed to honour all decisions and to pay any monetary awards rendered against them promptly.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Uppsala Conflict Data Program Conflict Encyclopedia, Ethiopia, Peace Agreement, Agreement between the Government of the State of Eritrea and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/gpcountry.php?id=55&regionSelect=1-Northern_Africa#
  2. ^ "Press Release: 2007-11-30" (Press release). Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission. 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  3. ^ "Ethiopia, Eritrea Face Off Again". Newsweek. 2007-11-28. 
  4. ^ Blunt, Elizabeth (2007-09-25). "Ethiopia sends warning to Eritrea". BBC News. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  5. ^ "Ethiopia and Eritrea: Bad words over Badme", The Economist, 13 December 2007