Lawless enforcing Law

The Eritrean regime’s latest complaints on its propaganda machines pertaining to land can only be interpreted as a lawless regime attempting to divert the public’s attention away from its daily miseries.  Lawless regimes are the biggest sources of socio-economic, political and legal upheavals in a nation.

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”    Abraham Lincoln

Here is a regime whose legitimacy emanates NOT from any legitimate laws of the land but from the end of the barrel of the gun.  Before the regime complains that others are lawless, it should examine itself and lead by example, as the late PM Meles Zenawi and his regime are doing.

PRINICPLE #1:  No one is above the law. This principle is foreign in today’s Eritrea – beginning with PIA.  The QUESTION is simple, what are the laws that give legitimacy to the Eritrean regime?  Power rests with the people, and thus usurpation of this power without any explicit laws is illegal.  To do so is to make oneself above the law, and principles of law and justice.

It would take too much to discuss principles, but suffice to discuss what makes this regime lawless.

LAWLESSNESS #1 – Illegitimate Government


What PIA fan club and tell us is our government is illegitimate.  For the benefit of those who have no clues about societies and law (Stable Society 101), laws are not the whips of an illegitimate regime but a form of contract among free citizens to be governed by them for their mutual benefits, and to change them as needed it.  All power, and hence laws, emanate from the people for the people by the people, which is not case in Eritrea.

VIOLATION #1:  Proclamation 23/1992 and Proclamation 37/1993 (amendment to Proclamation 23/1992) – enshrined a sunset provision for the life of the transitional government until May 24, 1997 (article 3(2), Proclamation 37/1993).  As such, the regime can’t claim legitimacy based on Proclamation 37/1993.

Violation #2:  The Eritrean Constituent Assembly and the Eritrean National Assembly established and by the power given to it by Proclamation 37/1993 article 4, proclaimed the Eritrean Constitution as the law of the land on May 23, 1997.  It took an immediate effect on the 24th of May 1997.  Yet the illegitimate regime has shelved the Constitution and ruling by decrees emanating from the barrel of the gun.  It should be noted that the fact that PIA has refused to officially proclaim the Constitution, Proclamation 37/1997 requires that the Constitution go into effect by May 24, 1997.  In other words, it automatically went into effect the latter of the date of ratification of the Constitution or 4 years after the Proclamation 37/1993 went into effect.

The regime has no source of legitimacy other than by the end of the barrel of the gun – like foreign invaders, bandits and Mafiosi.

LAWLESSNESS #2 – PFDJ/EPLF is dead (defunct), Internal Laws Violated

Some say that Eritrea is a one party state and refers to its cadres as PFDJ officials.  In reality PFDJ/EPLF is dead, and the one party state is really PIA Incorporated, a one-man show.  According to its own internal laws, PFDJ Central Committee must hold regular meetings every SIX MONTHS.  The last one was held in the year 2000 – twelve years ago!  The regime’s legitimacy doesn’t even emanate from within its own party, let alone the public.

Whenever PIA and Yemane Ghebreab were asked why they didn’t abide by their organizational laws, their answers were the same, “this is nothing new and that during the liberation period they never bothered with regular meetings as required by the EPLF organizational laws”.   Their simple lessons for other Eritreans are that ‘once lawless, no point in reforming’.   How does one expect to become a vibrant, mature and prosperous country with a mentality like that?


The regime continues to abuse its power under the pretext of national security.  In reality, national security has become the ‘hoongoogoo’ (boogeyman) politics of the regime.  Ethiopia is too busy with its own affairs to bother with another war Eritrea, especially when the Eritrean regime is doing a dandy job of destroying itself and Eritrea – something one can’t even do with external invasion.

Article 27 of the Ratified Constitution addresses State of Emergency which requires the approval of the National Assembly.  If Ethiopians can do it with their Parliament in approving laws, why can’t we Eritreans?  We are told that Eritrea was far more advanced in 1950s than Ethiopia in parliamentary politics, education and industry.  Where are we today?

Is the Eritrean regime abiding by the Constitution Article 27 to rule through emergency laws and decrees?  NO!  Thus all its acts are illegal.

LAWLESSNESS #4 – Violations of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms

The regime is in violation of all the provisions contained in Chapter III of the Constitution and Transitional Penal Code of Eritrea in the manner it is detaining tens of thousands of political prisoners, prisoners-of-conscious and other innocent Eritreans.  Only lawless regimes engage in subverting a nation’s legal system, depriving the people of their GOD given natural rights of life and liberty.  No one has the right to tell another how to live his/her life if such acts don’t interfere in other person’s enjoyment of his GOD given rights.  No amount of prosperity, which in Eritrea’s case is economic back-pedalling, ever justifies violations of fundamental rights and freedoms.  If we add any ‘but’ to this statement, we are on slippery road to brutal dictatorship we see today in Eritrea.  We don’t need paternalistic regimes engaged in self-serving activities to satisfy their egotistical needs.

Today’s Eritrea is where Justice is sold to the highest bidder or to those with guns.  This is an aberration of thousands of years of Eritrea’s rich history of being law-abiding society.

It is to be noted that Ethiopia revised the 1957 Penal Code to the 2004 Criminal Code of Ethiopia and Criminal Procedure of Ethiopia.  Eritrea’s Penal Code is still the 1957 Ethiopian Penal Code and no efforts are made to revise it because the administration of justice and law is defunct in Eritrea.

It is also worth noting that Ethiopia introduced its substantially amended Constitution in 1994, some three years before Eritrea ratifying its Constitution.  What we were told was that Eritrea was more advanced politically than Ethiopia, and yet it is Ethiopia with its myriad socio-economic, political and legal challenges that managed to embark on the path of Constitutional democracy.

LAWLESSNESS #5 – Sustaining an Illegal Special Courts

Special Courts was established by the President’s Decree under Proclamation 85/1996.  Upon the ratification and its automatic ascendancy into the legal foundation of Eritrea based on Proclamation of 37/1993, all previous laws that contravened the Constitution become null and unenforceable.

After all, Special Courts was about designed and established to fully abuse the legal system for political convenience and personal enrichment.  Its main features include:

  • presided by “judges” composed of army officers who have no legal training
  • double-jeopardy – by re-opening cases already decided in regular courts
  • no appeal rights, which is something inherently a source of injustice.

Any regime, especially itself deeply corrupt, can not promote the importance of Special Courts.  It is an instrument of political oppression and in contravention of the very fundamental principles of law and justice.

The thousands of Eritreans suffering in the Sinai desert in the cruellest manners have their criminal perpetrators right inside Eritrea.  A Police State such as Eritrea knows everyone of these criminal perpetrators (criminal rings) who are army officers and their lackeys and who are too busy making hard currency, and the regime siphoning its share out the blood of ordinary Eritreans.  Knowingly, and thus tacitly approving such cruelty, the regime has become the culprit and even the prime benefactor in this cruel situation.

In 1999, General Oqbe Haile informed PIA that the army should not be allowed to engage in business because it would conflict with its functions and moral within the army.  PIA sacked Gen. Oqbe and continued to give army officers to enrich themselves at will.  How does army officer earning only Nfa 3000 a month manage to acquire expensive villas, vehicles and other luxuries?  How could these corrupt army officers preside over civilian affairs?

LAWLESSNESS #6 – Violation of the Proclamations of National Service

National service was introduced under Proclamation 82/1995.  Article 8 of this Proclamation limits active national service to 18 months.  Yet, Eritrean youths are condemned to perpetual national service serving at the personal whims of military officers while their families are suffering socially and economically.

SAWA IS A RAPE FACTORY.  The national service program is being used to weaken and drive the youth into desperation in order to ensure the youth is NOT demand political change.  Most of the YPFDJ who travelled this summer to Sawa were totally disappointed with the state of the affairs in Eritrea.  One joke is where a YPFDJ youth goes to a restaurant in Asmara and sees a whole list of food items on the menu, but almost every item the youth selected from the menu was not available.  Finally, he was told that they would give him the only item available on the menu.  Indeed, this is the state of affairs in Eritrea today – all illusionary choices.

As a result of desperation, Eritrea is suffering the largest outward migration of youth per capita in the world.  A nation that is losing its youths is losing its future.

LAWLESSNESS #7 – Violation of the Proclamations of Central Bank of Eritrea and Foreign Exchange

The Central Bank of Eritrea (Bank of Eritrea) ‘CBE’ was established under Proclamation 32/1993 and later modified under Proclamation 93/1997.  The Proclamation pertaining to foreign exchange bureaus was introduced in 1998.

CBE is the only authorized body to maintain and account for foreign currency reserves and manage all foreign exchange activities. Instead, and in contravention of the above proclamations, Himbol and EriCommerce are stashing away Eritrea’s foreign currency reserve in no man’s land, where there is no accountability and transparency.  It is generally believed that only PIA and Hagos Kisha know where Eritrea’s foreign currency is hidden. publicized one transfer in PIA and his son’s name, under Hagos Kisha’s signature, in the amount of nearly $250 Million USD.  We have no reason to believe this revelation to be untrue as there is no accountability in Eritrea.

LAWLESSNESS #8 – Violation of the Proclamations of Labor Laws
Proclamation 118/2001 dealt with rights and responsibilities of labor in Eritrea.   Articles 86 to 98 address the rights of workers to form associations.  But in reality, no worker is allowed to organize themselves into any associations.  In fact, Eritreans are told that any gathering of 7 people or more is illegal, though no one can refer to which law prohibits such acts.  The one national union is just mannequin on window display for the benefit of international organizations.

LAWLESSNESS #9 – Violations of the Resolutions of EPLF/PFDJ Central Committee and National Assembly

The EPLF/PFDJ Central Committee and the National Assembly under authorities given under the organizational laws and Proclamation 37/1993 had INSTRUCTRED the Executive bodies of each institution to:

  • Fully account for the EPLF assets and transfer to HIDRI TRUST under committee chosen by the Central Committee (1997) – PIA refused in contravention of PFDJ laws
  • Proceed with Constitution and hold Eritrea’s first democratic elections by end of 2001 (both bodies in 2000) – PIA arrested Members of National Assembly in contravention of the Constitution (and even Transitional Government Laws of 37/1993) and PFDJ internal laws.
  • Requirements that PIA establish and consult an advisory committee before making major decisions

LAWLESSNESS #10 – Violations of Various International Laws

The most flagrant laws pertain to various diplomatic laws

  • Shoot first and ask questions later diplomacy – esp. with Yemen (Hanish) and Djibouti
  • earching diplomatic pouches coming into Eritrea
  • Refusing access to foreign detainees by their official representatives in contravention to Vienna Protocols which Eritrea is signatory
  • Engaging in financial services abroad without proper business registrations (e.g. Washington DC Community Centre), etc…

Legitimate Government MUST Enforce Laws in Timely Manner – Statue of Limitations

The regime’s complaints of Sep. 25, 2012 that land is not being properly used, or worse illegally utilized has been taking place for the last 15 years.  During this time, the regime has knowingly turned its blind eye – which in any other law abiding society is tantamount to approving such activities.

In general, certain laws have statute of limitations that require that any violations or breaches be brought to Courts of Justice within a reasonable time, usually two years, after discovering such a breach. This is mostly among private citizens.  Governments are required and expected to immediately enforce laws they impose because, having promulgated laws, they are expected to have the resources to monitor and enforce those laws.  Failing to enforce its laws immediately, it no longer has the authority to seek to enforce or redress years later.

1. The latest threat to enforce the Land Proclamation No. 58/1994 can only be viewed as follows:Desperate regime trying to squeeze more hard currency out of Diaspora Eritreans by threatening to take away the land they purchased from villagers and built houses to

  • Pay for imports where in today’s Eritrea fuel, bread and other basic necessities are in short supply and where Western countries’ unannounced sanction on the regime is beginning to take a bite, and/or
  • Squeeze every penny out of Diaspora Eritreans in preparation for stashing away more money in foreign bank (such as Fubon Bank) before fleeing the country

2. For emphasis, having failed to enforce Land Proclamation No. 58/1994 for nearly 20 years, it would be illegal for the government itself to enforce it after abdicating its responsibility for so long – and it had the means to enforce it.  Why did the regime turn blind eye for nearly 20 years?  Because, turning blind eye had allowed the Eritrean economy to generate some growth through housing constructions.  As a result, the regime had gained tremendous benefits from ignoring its own Land Proclamation.



Unlike the previous years, this year’s “Eritrean tourists” had the same comments about the state of affairs in Eritrea – desperate.  Even the most ardent supporters couldn’t hide their disappointments with the regime – the utter misery of the population, fuel and water shortages, and electric blackouts.

The spin masters tell us that this is a ‘war economy’, a country suffering from the aftermaths of the Ethio-Eritrea border war.  But it is only yesterday that the brave Eritrean fighters of independence overcame all odds and won Eritrea’s independence.  How come they managed to undertake so much socio-economic prosperity between 1991 and 2001 despite even bigger challenges?

The living testimony of a great leader is how he/she quickly disappears into history – NOT how indispensable he makes himself.  Barely two months into the early demise of PM Meles Zenawi, his image has disappeared from all government institutions – as if he never existed, yet being omnipresent. The transition to new leadership was accomplished in accordance with proper legal procedures, without haste and in smoothest manner possible.  That is what makes PM Meles a great leader.  In Eritrea, we are told by PIA fan club that the removal of the almighty one on earth is a death sentence for Eritrea.

While the Eritrean regime is fanning the winds of non-existent war, Ethiopia is busy developing its country.

  • The massive Renaissance Dam is on target.  The Ashegoda Wind Project in Tigray State will produce 120 MW of sustainable wind generated electricity.  Along with the Takezze hydro dam producing 300 MW, Tigray State is producing over 420 MW using sustainable energy source while Eritrea is still producing 160 MW (less than half of Tigray’s capacity) using imported fuel, which is draining foreign currency and resulting in blackouts.
  • The Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, the 34.25 double track electrified public transport system ($500 Million USD) will modernize Addis Ababa into next level of economic development, while the Asmara regime is too busy complaining about CIA, UN, internal enemies and many other bogeymen.  The electrified system will reduce Ethiopia’s reliance on imported fossil and will utilize more of its own sustainable energy resources.


  • Ethiopian Airlines is expanding its services across the world, including receiving Boeing 787 Dreamliner, being the second airline after Japan Airways to receive such an advanced plane.  In contrast, Eritrean Airlines has, despite having lucrative market, joined the club of typically disorganized service providers such as Yemenia and Sudan Airways.
  • Too many other projects to list here

In contrast, the Eritrean media keeps telling us the successes of various projects throughout Eritrea.  But there are no numbers, statistics, sustainability reports, project outputs and other critical information needed to determine the viability of these projects.  The only information we are told is ‘that the government is doing great’ or that ‘people or the locals were happy’ – all non-measurable yardsticks.  Contrast this with Ethiopian reports which are full of detailed reports.

No INVESTMENT will occur in a LAWLESS COUNTRY, except bigger Mafiosi with even bigger guns who are prepared to risk their investments there.

In a country where bread is scarce, and guns and booze is available in abundance can only be going into socio-political and economic tailspin.


We hear that the regime is lobbying hard to lift the UN Sanction.  FACT: IT WON’T HAPPEN.  The way the UN works, it is hard to impose sanctions because the majority of the UNSC must approve without none of the five permanent members vetoing against the resolution.  Once approved, it is difficult to rescind because again the majority must approve without any veto.  Thus, as long as the US, UK and France are bent on ensuring that PIA respects human rights in Eritrea, the sanction will remain in effect.

The US, UK and France are not just punishing PIA for his specific acts in Somalia or Djibouti.  This is an act of punishment for criminal behavior that encompasses not only interference in neighboring countries, but also its gross human rights violations within its borders and for creating the largest exodus of its youth population who are suffering in the Sinai and Sahara Deserts and in the Mediterranean Sea.

An illegal regime that has lost all legitimacy from its own people, a regime busy torturing and imprisoning its own people, a regime whose people are voting with their feet, a regime whose personal pilot flees with the personal plane of the leader of the regime (probably this was his last chance before jet fuel runs dry), will only embolden its antagonists.

Let alone a poor country like Eritrea, even Libya with its billions of petrodollars under Qaddafi couldn’t weather UN sanctions.  North Korea is suffering and now Iran is paying dearly under such sanctions, resulting among other things the devaluation of its currency by 80% in the last month alone.



The reality show of Real Wives (with various city names such as New York, Beverly Hills, New Jersey, etc…) is about a bunch of well-to-do women who are bored with life and need to inject some excitement into their ‘boring’ lives by seeking 15 minutes of fame through the most vulgar acts.

Many of my readers can name candidates for the role of Real Housewives of PFDJ.  None stands more qualified than Sofia Tesfamariam.  Listening to part of her latest interview in ESAT Ethiopia (which I don’t normally bother listening to PFDJ fan club members), her hypocrisy and ego was percolating to the surface in her role as the Real Housewife of PFDJ.

First, she tells us how proud she is of one of her kids going to college.  Here is one of the Real Housewives of PFDJ ever championing the SAWA RAPE FACTORY and yet refusing to send her kid to Sawa.  That is hypocracy!

Second, she mentioned Eritreans as ‘my people’ during the interview.  We now have the female ‘Moses’, who refers to Eritreans as ‘my people’.  Now, one would think that the use of ‘my people’ is reserved to great leaders of a nation, and the Real Housewives who are bored with their comfortable lives paid for by brave Americans hardly qualify as great leaders.  She might refer to us as ‘fellow citizens or country men’, but not ‘my people’.  Are those who are being tortured in the Sinai Desert ‘her people’ too?

I may disagree with Diaspora Eritreans returning to Eritrea to serve the regime, such as Dr. Woldai and Dr. Araya, but it doesn’t fully diminish my respect for them because they abandoned their comfortable lives in the West hoping to change Eritrea their way.  The fact the regime failed them doesn’t take away from their commitment to their country.  In contrast, the Real Housewives, Dr. Gideon and others who enjoy the economic, social, political and legal benefit offered to them by the West but refuse to live in country they vigorously support as just and developing are nothing more than hypocrites – and hypocrites are all about destroying a nation.

Lastly:  are Eritreans obligated to pay their taxes?  No!  An illegitimate regime that has usurped power has broken its contract with its people.  When one party to a contract has breached its obligations under the contract, the second party is no longer required to fulfill its end of the commitment.  In fact, it may sue for redress for non-performance!

Kudos to for excellent coverages, Elsa Chyrum and an Eritrean nun in Israel for their continued struggle for Eritrean refugees, and Freedom Friday (Arbi Harnet) for excellent campaign.

Berhan Hagos
October 14, 2012

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