Some remarks on the protection of property rights in time of armed conflict
The 1998-2000 Eritrea-Ethiopia war and its aftermath in international legal perspective : from 2000 Algiers Agreements to the 2018 Peace Agreement
The Hague : Asser Press, 2021
According to the EECC, the right to property is not unlimited in times of peace, and even less so in times of armed conflict, when private property is better protected than public property. On the basis of Article 27 ff, and in particular 35 ff, of the IV Geneva Convention, the EECC held that expropriation or seizure of private enemy property for public purposes is lawful, but full compensation has to be paid. However, the parties to the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia rarely seized or froze property of the other party’s nationals, instead they took other measures, including taxation and measures of administrative control, which made it impossible or at least very difficult for the persons affected to keep or use their property. The EECC has tried to draw a specific borderline between a ‘taking’ of property, which, without a payment of compensation, is unlawful, and a lawful regulation of the use of property for times of war, on the basis of the rule of reasonableness or prohibition of arbitrariness.
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