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UNSC Action that undermines its own legal authority

In a resolution adopted today, the UN Security Council has sadly decided to maintain yet for another year the unwarranted sanctions that were originally imposed against Eritrea on the Christmas eve of  December 2009 and its follow-up resolution that was adopted in December 2011.

At the time, Eritrea was falsely accused of dispatching 2000 troops to Somalia in support of Al-Shebaab.   The pattern of unsubstantiated allegations was repeated in 2011 when Eritrea was wrongly accused –  just one month prior to the adoption of Resolution 2023 – of sending three plane loads of arms to Al-Shebaab through the airport of Baidowa.

All these allegations were patently false.  But trumped up charges were vital for the architects of the sanctions resolutions against Eritrea who used their diplomatic clout to ram through the unjust measures against Eritrea in a largely pliant Security Council.

Six years on, all Security Council Members and the international community as a whole, are fully aware of the false testimonies that were concocted against Eritrea to serve some political ends. 

Indeed, the UN report this year – as it was also the case last year – states categorically that the “Monitoring Group” has found no evidence of Eritrean support to Al-Shebaab. 

Under normal circumstances, the UNSC should drop its case against Eritrea and rescind the sanctions resolutions which were unjust in the first place.   But these are not normal times.  And, instead of redressing these injustices – and making due reparations to Eritrea –  the UN Security Council, despite the reservations and objections of several of its members, has opted to dwell on its misguided course under the heavy-handed prodding of the US and its usual allies. As it happens, the UN Security Council is invoking non-existent facts and potential “threats to regional peace and security” in its dogged desire to harass Eritrea. 

There is one unfathomable fact that the UN Security Council cannot gloss over as it unfairly victimizes Eritrea.  Ethiopia continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories, including the town of Badme, in flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations.  Ethiopia’s acts also violate the Algiers Peace Agreement – guaranteed by the UN Security Council – and the final and binding arbitral decision. This must surely be an affront to the UN Security Council in as much as it wishes to hide it.  

The UN Security Council is mandated by Articles 39-41of the UN Charter to take appropriate measures against Ethiopia.  But the UNSC cannot contemplate this action as Ethiopia enjoys the full protection and tutelage of the United States.  But in submitting to US political wishes and preferences, the UNSC is compromising and undermining its own legal mandate and authority.  Eritrea and the region will suffer the consequences of unwarranted UN action in the short-term.  But in the long term, the real causality is international law as well as the corrosion of the UNSC’s legal authority in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
23 October 2015

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