Eritrea ruled to have triggered war with Ethiopia 18 Mar 2006
Eritrea triggered the 1998 border dispute with Ethiopia and violated international law during the ensuing two-year war, the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC) in The Hague has ruled.

Eritrea triggered the 1998 border dispute with Ethiopia and violated international law during the ensuing two-year war, the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC) ruled in The Hague on 19 December. Given that no armed attack against Eritrea took place, its May 1998 attack against Ethiopia constituted an unlawful use of force which could not be justified as self-defence under the United Nations Charter.
Even though Eritrea has been blamed for starting the conflict both countries are likely to receive compensation for breaches of international law during the fighting, which claimed the lives of at least 70,000.

"The Commission holds that Eritrea violated the Charter of the UN by resorting to armed force to attack and occupy Badme, then under peaceful Ethiopian administration ... and is liable to compensate Ethiopia for damages caused by that violation of international law," the Commission said in its ruling published on 22 December.
"Once the armed attack in the Badme area occurred and Ethiopia decided to act in self-defence, a war resulted that proved impossible to restrict to the areas where that initial attack was made," it said.
The Commission will make specific decisions regarding the payment of damages later in the damages phase of the proceedings.

The Hague-based EECC was formed to resolve claims between the Horn of Africa neighbours after the war ended in 2002. The Permanent Court of Arbitration serves as Registry of the Commission. It comprises five international lawyers chosen by both countries and its decisions are binding on both parties. The claims commission has no bearing on the decision of the independent boundary commission, whose ruling still stands.

The Commission will make specific decisions regarding the payment of damages later in January.

Read the 'Partial Award' in full

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