Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission Awards Final Damages

by Duncan Hollis

Yesterday, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission awarded final damage awards for the fifteen partial and final awards on liability it rendered between July 1, 2003 and December 19, 2005. You can access the damages decisions for Eritrea here, and those for Ethiopia hereAccording to the AP, both sides will accept the awards, but neither is apparently thrilled with the final results.  Ethiopia ends up with more money; its final award totals $174,036,520, while Eritrea receives $161,455,000 plus an additional $2,065,865 for individual Eritrean claimants.  Ethiopia apparently feels though that the delta between the two awards was insufficient given earlier rulings had found Eritrea violated the jus ad bellum in originally resorting to force in 1998. For its part, Eritrea remains miffed that Ethiopia has resisted the Commission’s drawing of boundary lines between the two states (e.g. giving Badme to Eritrea), a point reiterated (subtly) in its acceptance of yesterday’s award.  Here’s Eritrea’s official statement:

On Monday, 17, August 2009, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission (“EECC”) delivered its Final Awards regarding violations of international law during the 1998-2000 border war. The EECC was established by Article 5 of the Algiers Agreement, the same legal instrument that created the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (“EEBC”), which rendered its boundary Award in April 2002. Eritrea is well aware of the interference that has impaired the administration of justice. Nonetheless, and irrespective of the plausibility of the evidence and legal instruments invoked to arrive at the Award, the Government of Eritrea accepts the Award of the Claims Commission without any equivocation due to its final and binding nature under the Algiers Agreement. This is indeed consistent with Eritrea’s track record of respecting arbitration decisions that emanate from its treaty obligations. The Government of Eritrea expresses its profound gratitude to its legal counsel who toiled extremely hard to compile the necessary evidence and to advance robust legal arguments in order to ensure justice. The legal filings have not yet been made public due to procedural requirements of confidentiality during the litigation process. Now that the Award has been announced, the Government of Eritrea intends to put all these proceedings in the public domain for their judgmental and educational purposes to posterity.

As for the Commission itself, it explained that evidentiary hurdles proved critical to the amounts it felt able to award for damages on both sides:

1. With this Final Award in Eritrea’s claims for damages, and its companion Final Award in Ethiopia’s damages claims, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission largely completes its work. The Commission appreciates the cooperation it has received from both Parties and their counsel throughout the damages phase of these proceedings, as in the earlier liability phase. Nevertheless, this phase has involved enormous challenges. Through their counsel, the States of Eritrea and Ethiopia have sought to quantify the extent of damage resulting from violations of international law previously found by the Commission. As discussed below, the Commission has sought to apply procedures and standards of evidence that take account of the challenges facing both Parties. Nevertheless, these are legal proceedings. The Commission’s findings must rest on evidence. As the Commission has emphasized throughout, compensation can only be awarded where there is evidence sufficient in the circumstances to establish the extent of damage caused by conduct the Commission previously found to have violated international law.

2. Accordingly, the Commission notes that its awards of monetary compensation for damages are less – probably much less – than the Parties believe to be due. The Commission thus stands in the tradition of many other past claims commissions that have awarded only a fraction of the total amounts claimed. Its awards probably do not reflect the totality of damages that either Party suffered in violation of international law. Instead, they reflect the damages that could be established with sufficient certainty through the available evidence, in the context of complex international legal proceedings carried out by the Parties with modest resources and under necessary pressures of time.

3. In that connection, the Commission notes that evidence of the extent of physical damage to buildings and infrastructure is more readily gathered and presented than is evidence of the extent of injuries, including physical, economic and moral injuries, to large numbers of individuals. That fact may well have led to the lesser extent of evidence that often was offered in support of claims based on injuries to individuals. Moreover, as the claims addressed in this Award are almost entirely claims by the State Party for compensation for violations of law that it has suffered, rather than claims on behalf of its nationals, the Commission has been compelled to make judgments not as to appropriate compensation for individual victims, but instead as to the relative seriousness of those violations of law and the effects they had on the Claimant State Party.

There’s a lot to digest here.  And I may have more to say later on specific issues.  But, for now, I wanted to flag the awards and the reactions.  I’d be interested to hear reader reactions as well — do folks think these decisions will have much influence on the future law of damages generally, or are these awards of interest only to those who follow politics in the Horn of Africa?

As for the details of the awards themselves, you can find them after the jump.

Award for Eritrea:

The Commission awards Eritrea the following compensation for Ethiopia’s violations of the jus in bello:
1. US$13,500,000 for losses of residential and business property on the Central and Western Fronts in Serha, Senafe, Teseney, Alighidir, Guluj, Tabaldia, Gergef, Omhajer, Barentu and Tokombia, and Molki Sub-Zoba;
2. US$35,965,000 for damage to and destruction of buildings on the Central and Western Fronts in Serha, Senafe, Teseney, Alighidir, Guluj, Tabaldia, Gergef, Omhajer, Barentu and Tokombia, and Molki Sub-Zoba;
3. US$1,500,000 in respect of injuries to civilians due to loss of access to health care on account of damage to or destruction of Eritrean hospitals and other medical facilities and loss of medical supplies;
4. US$100,000 for damage to cultural property, specifically US$50,000 for damage to the Stela of Matara and US$50,000 for damage to the Tserona Patriots Cemetery;
5. US$4,000,000 for mistreatment of prisoners of war;
6. US$2,000,000 for failing to prevent the rape of known and unknown victims in the towns of Senafe, Barentu and Teseney;
7. US$1,550,000 for forcible expulsion of the population of Awgaro;
8. US$50,000 in respect of the unknown, but apparently small, number of dual Eritrean-Ethiopian nationals who were arbitrarily deprived of their Ethiopian nationality while present in third countries;
9. US$15,000,000 in respect of the wrongful expulsion of an unknown, but considerable, number of dual nationals by local Ethiopian authorities;
10. US$11,000,000 for receiving, caring for and resettling rural Ethiopian nationals wrongfully expelled from Ethiopia;
11. US$2,000,000 for failure to provide humane and safe treatment for persons being expelled from Ethiopia;
12. US$46,000,000 for expellees’ losses of property on account of Ethiopia’s wrongful actions;
13. US$24,525,000 for Ethiopia’s failure to return or provide compensation after the war for vehicles it requisitioned from non-resident Eritreans;
14. US$1,500,000 for other property losses of non-resident Eritreans;
15. US$2,600,000 for imprisoning Eritrean civilians on security charges or detaining them for unknown reasons, under harsh and unacceptable conditions; and
16. US$155,000 for violation of Eritrea’s diplomatic premises and property;
17. As determined at the liability phase, the Commission considers its finding that Ethiopia unlawfully deprived dual Eritrean-Ethiopian nationals of their Ethiopian nationality to be appropriate reparation for the violation.
18. As determined at the liability phase, the Commission considers its finding that Ethiopia unlawfully interfered with Eritrea’s departing diplomats to be appropriate reparation for the violation.
19. All of Eritrea’s other claims on its own behalf are dismissed.
20. For claims filed by Eritrea on behalf of named individuals, the Commission awards the following amounts:
a. US$319,615 for Hiwot Nemariam and Belay Redda, for failure to provide humane and safe treatment in transport from Ethiopia, lack of access to bank accounts, and unlawful deprivation of property;
b. US$1,500,000 for Sertzu Gebre Meskel, for unlawful deprivation of property;
c. US$21,250 for Mebrahtu Gebremedhin, for lack of access to bank accounts and unlawful deprivation of property; and
d. US$225,000 for Mebrat Gebreamlak, for lack of access to bank accounts and unlawful deprivation of property.
e. The claim of Fekadu Andremeskal is dismissed.
21. In addition to the award of satisfaction to Eritrea for all of the Commission’s liability findings, the total monetary compensation awarded to Eritrea in respect of its own claims is US$161,455,000. The amount awarded in respect of claims presented on behalf of individual claimants is US$2,065,865.

At the conclusion of these lengthy proceedings and the issuance of this Final Award, and the parallel Final Award in Ethiopia’s claims against Eritrea, the Commission reiterates its confidence that the Parties will ensure that the compensation awarded will be paid promptly, and that funds received in respect of their claims will be used to provide relief to their civilian populations injured in the war.

And here’s Ethiopia’s Award:

A. The Commission awards Ethiopia the following compensation for Eritrea’s violations of the jus in bello:
1. US$11,000,000 for death, physical injury, disappearance, forced labor and conscription of Ethiopian civilians;
2. US$2,000,000 for failing to prevent rape of known and unknown victims in Irob, Dalul and Elidar Weredas;
3. US$13,900,000 for looting, and destruction of and damage to houses;
4. US$20,195,000 for damage, destruction and looting in Zalambessa;
5. US$2,500,000 for death, injury and property damage in Mekele;
6. US$315,000 for looting of and damage to government buildings and infrastructure;
7. US$4,500,000 for looting, destruction and damage to religious institutions;
8. US$3,216,000 for seizure and looting of the Saba Dimensional Stones Share Company;
9. US$7,500,000 for mistreatment of Ethiopian prisoners of war;
10. US$2,000,000 for failure to protect Ethiopian civilians in Eritrea from threats and violence;
11. US$1,500,000 for failure to ensure Ethiopian civilians in Eritrea access to employment;
12. US$50,000 for failure to ensure that Ethiopian civilians in Eritrea were able to receive medical care to the same extent as Eritrean nationals;
13. US$2,000,000 for wrongful detention and abusive treatment of Ethiopian civilians in Eritrean custody;
14. US$1,500,000 for harsh treatment of Ethiopian civilians at the Hawshaite detention camp;
15. US$10,000,000 for detaining significant numbers of Ethiopian civilians under harsh conditions during and after May 2000;
16. US$500,000 for deaths and injuries suffered by detainees at Wi’a Camp;
17. US$2,000,000 for failure to protect the property of Ethiopian detainees expelled from Eritrea;
18. US$1,000,000 for failure to protect the property of other departing Ethiopians; and
19. US$1,100,000 for failing to ensure the safe and humane repatriation of departing Ethiopians in transports that were not conducted or supervised by the ICRC.

B. The Commission awards Ethiopia the following compensation for Eritrea’s violations of the jus ad bellum:
1. US$45,000,000 for human suffering and lost income associated with internal displacement of persons;
2. US$8,500,000 for Ethiopian civilian deaths and injuries;
3. US$6,000,000 for damage to civilian property, primarily from shelling;
4. US$3,500,000 for damage to public buildings and infrastructure;
5. US$2,500,000 for looting, destruction and damage to religious institutions;
6. US$5,605,000 for destruction in Zalambessa;
7. US$1,500,000 for deaths and injuries caused by landmines;
8. US$250,000 for destruction of Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau facilities in Adigrat;
9. US$162,500 for damage to other government facilities on the Central Front;
10. US$75,000 for other government losses on the Central Front;
11. US$125,000 for looting of property from the Relief Society of Tigray;
12. US$150,000 for damage in Adi Goshu;
13. US$625,000 for shelling damage in Sheraro;
14. US$65,000 for damage caused by the attack on the Mekele airport;
15. US$4,000,000 for profits lost by Ethiopian Airlines;
16. US$1,703,020 for failing to provide Ethiopian Airlines access to its bank accounts at the Bank of Eritrea; and
17. US$7,500,000 for reconstruction and assistance to internally displacedpersons.

C. As determined at the liability phase, the Commission considers its finding that Eritrea violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by arresting and detaining the Ethiopian Chargé d’Affaires and by violating official Ethiopian diplomatic correspondence and interfering with the functioning of the Ethiopian diplomatic mission to be appropriate reparation.

D. All of Ethiopia’s other claims are dismissed.

E. In addition to the award of satisfaction to Ethiopia for all of the Commission’s liability findings, the total monetary compensation awarded to Ethiopia in respect of its claims is US$174,036,520. At the conclusion of these lengthy proceedings and the issuance of this Final Award, and the parallel Final Award in Eritrea’s claims against Ethiopia, the Commission reiterates its confidence that the Parties will ensure that the compensation awarded will be paid promptly, and that funds received in respect of their claims will be used to provide relief to their civilian populations injured in the war.

http://opiniojuris.org/2009/08/19/eritrea-ethiopia-claims-commission-awards-final-damages/

2 Responses

  1. Who exactly is paying out all these damages?

  2. Response…
    http://www.operationspaix.net/spip.php?action=dw2_out&id=3059

    Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commision oversteps its boundaries-Christine Gray

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. There are no trackbacks or pingbacks associated with this post at this time.