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Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission

 

The Permanent Court of Arbitration served as registry for this Commission established pursuant to the Agreement of 12 December 2000 between the Government of the State of Eritrea and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, with a mandate "to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902 and 1908) and applicable international law."

 

The members of the Commission were:

 

    Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, CBE QC (President);
    His Excellency Prince Bola Adesumbo Ajibola (appointed by Ethiopia);
    Professor W. Michael Reisman (appointed by Eritrea);
    Judge Stephen M. Schwebel (appointed by Eritrea);
    Sir Arthur Watts, KCMG QC (appointed by Ethiopia).*

 

* Deceased, November 16, 2007.

 

Rules of Procedure

 

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission delivered its Decision on Delimitation of the Border between Eritrea and Ethiopia to representatives of the two governments on Saturday, April 13, 2002. The Decision was delivered at a session attended by all of the members of the Boundary Commission at the premises of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Peace Palace in The Hague. The text of the Decision can be downloaded by chapter.

 

Decision on Delimitation of the Border between Eritrea and Ethiopia*

Table of Contents and Prelims

Chapter 1 - Procedural Introduction

Chapter 2 - Substantive Introduction

Chapter 3 - The Task of the Commission and the Applicable Law

Chapter 4 - The Sector Covered by the 1900 Treaty (Central Sector)

Chapter 5 - The Sector Covered by the 1902 Treaty (Western Sector)

Chapter 6 - The Sector Covered by the 1908 Treaty (Eastern Sector)

Chapter 7 - The Boundary Line within Rivers

Chapter 8 - Dispositif

Appendices

*List of Maps 1-13

 

On June 24, 2002, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission issued a "Decision Regarding the ‘Request for Interpretation, Correction and Consultation’ Submitted by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on 13 May 2002."

 

Having completed its task of delimitation by identifying the boundary between the two states, the Commission moved on to effecting the actual demarcation of that boundary on the ground.

 

On July 17, 2002, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission issued an order concerning the establishment of a field office in Adigrat, Ethiopia, and another order responding to Eritrea's Request for Interim Measures.

 

On November 6 and 7, 2002, the Commission met with representatives of the parties to discuss matters related to the ongoing demarcation process. Representatives of the United Nations and the African Union were present as observers. In response to certain questions that had arisen, the Commission issued, on 7 November, a decision titled "Determinations".

 

On February 8 and 9, 2003, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission met with representatives of the parties to discuss matters related to the ongoing demarcation process.

 

On March 20 and 21, 2003, the Commission held internal meetings in order to discuss demarcation matters with the field office staff and other technical personnel.

 

On July 7, 2003, the Commission issued a "Decision pursuant to Article 15B of the Commission's Demarcation Directions."

 

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission held internal meetings on August 10-11, 2003 for the purpose of discussing certain technical issues related to the demarcation of the boundary between the two states. After considering the parties' comments of January 24, April 15, and May 2, 2003, the Commission decided to issue instructions for implementing the plan of work set out in the Commission's latest "Schedule of the order of activities ahead as at 16 July 2003." Copies of these instructions were communicated to the parties.

 

On November 19, 2003, the Commission met in The Hague with representatives of the parties. The President of the Commission made an opening statement expressing the concern of the Commission at the lack of progress in the demarcation process, setting out the Commission’s understanding of the positions of the parties and indicating that if progress was to be made, certain rigid positions would have to be modified. Following that meeting, the Commission concluded that, until the positions of either or both of the parties were modified, there was nothing more that the Commission could do. Further details on the Commission's position can be found in the Annexes to the Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea: UN Doc. S/2003/1186, December 19, 2003.

 

On March 13, 2006, the Commission issued the following Press Statement:

 

"The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission met with the Parties on 10 March 2006 in London, in order to discuss arrangements for the resumption of demarcation activities which had been halted in 2003 due to circumstances beyond the Commission's control. A further meeting between the Commission and the Parties to discuss progress on demarcation is scheduled to take place in late April this year. The Permanent Court of Arbitration with its seat at the Peace Palace in The Hague acts as Registry for both the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary and Claims Commissions."

 

The meeting originally scheduled for April 2006 was rescheduled to May 2006, and was held in London.

 

 

On September 6-7, 2007, the Commission met with Representatives of Eritrea and Ethiopia to ascertain from them whether any progress had been, or could be, made towards pillar emplacement on the ground. A press release was issued on September 12, 2007.

 

 

A further press release was issued on November 30, 2007.

 

 

General information on the activities of the Boundary Commission is provided by the President of the Commission for inclusion in the reports of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Security Council.

 

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, June 19, 2001

            UN Doc. S/2001/608

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, September 5, 2001 

            UN Doc. S/2001/843

  • Progress report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, December 13, 2001

            UN Doc. S/2001/1194

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, March 8, 2002

            UN Doc. S/2002/245

  • Security Council Resolution 1398, extending the mandate of UNMEE until September 15, 2002 with a view to ensure and facilitate the implementation of the Eritrea/Ethiopia Boundary Decision, March 15, 2002

            UN Doc. S/RES/1398

  • Security Council Resolution 1430 of August 14, 2002 on the situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia
  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, August 30, 2002

            UN Doc. S/2002/977

  • Security Council Resolution 1434 of 6 September 2002 on the situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia

            UN Doc. S/RES/1434

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, December 20, 2002

            UN Doc. S/2002/1393

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, March 6, 2003

            UN Doc. S/2003/257

  • Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission Observations – March 21, 2003 published as an addendum to the Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, of March 6, 2003

            UN Doc. S/2003/257/Add.1          

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, June 23, 2003

            UN Doc. S/2003/665

  • Addendum: Schedule of the order of activities ahead as at July 16, 2003, July 22, 2003

            UN Doc. S/2003/665/Add.1

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, September 4, 2003

            UN Doc. S/2003/858

  • Security Council Resolution 1507 extending the mandate of UNMEE, September 12, 2003

            UN Doc. S/RES/1507

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, December 19, 2003

            UN Doc. S/2003/1186

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, March 5, 2004

            UN Doc. S/2004/180

  • Security Council Resolution 1560, September 14, 2004

            UN Doc. S/RES/1560

  • Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, September 2, 2004

            UN Doc. S/2004/708

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, March 7, 2005

            UN Doc. S/2005/142

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, June 20, 2005

            UN Doc. S/2005/400

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, August 30, 2005 
           UN Doc. S/2005/553
  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, August 30, 2005, Addendum 
           UN Doc. S/2005/553/Add.1
  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, January 3, 2006

UN Doc. S/2006/1

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, March 6, 2006 

UN Doc. S/2006/140

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, September 19, 2006 

UN Doc. S/2006/749

  • Special Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, December 15, 2006 

UN Doc. S/2006/992

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, January 22, 2007 

UN Doc. S/2007/33

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, April 30, 2007 

UN Doc. S/2007/250

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, July 18, 2007 

UN Doc. S/2007/440

  • Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, November 1, 2007

UN Doc. S/2007/645 

  •  Report of the Secretary-General on Ethiopia and Eritrea, January 23, 2008

UN Doc. S/2008/40