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Self-Determination and Secession in International Law$
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Christian Walter, Antje von Ungern-Sternberg, and Kavus Abushov

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702375.001.0001

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(p.273) 14 Eritrea
Self-Determination and Secession in International Law

Gregory Fox

Oxford University Press

Direct comparisons between Eritrea and CIS self-determination claims are made difficult by Eritrea’s status as both a colony and a territory whose disposition was controlled by a peace treaty among the major powers—none of the CIS territories share these crucial characteristics, which in various formulations form the basis for two of the three Eritrean claims. The Eritrean case does provide useful guidance, however, on the effect of time on claims of self-determination. It may stand as a clear example of the ex injuria jus non-oritur maxim. Despite almost 30 years of effective control by Ethiopia accompanied by acquiescence by the international community, one may argue that Eritrea’s self-determination rights were not extinguished. The response to this argument is that Eritrea did not achieve independence in 1993 pursuant to a legal entitlement but rather a military victory followed by Ethiopia granting permission to secede.

Keywords:   Eritrea, Ethiopia, United Nations General Assembly, Italy, Four Powers, decolonization, peace treaties, remedial secession, ex injuria jus non oritur

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