This section contains a brief description of the legal system of Eritrea.

Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993.

Eritrea was awarded to Ethiopia as part of a federation in 1952 by the UN, following the defeat by British forces of the Italian army in Eritrea in 1941 at the Battle of Keren and the placement of the colony under British military administration.

The annexation of Eritrea as a province by Ethiopia in 1963 began a 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 when Eritrean rebels defeated government forces.

A successful referendum on independence for the Autonomous Region of Eritrea was held in April 1993 and a National Assembly, composed only of the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) was established as a transitional legislature. Isaias Afworki was elected president by the transitional legislature. 

A Constitutional Commission was established to draft a constitution. However the resulting constitution, ratified in May 1997, never entered into effect, as parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled in December 2001 were postponed indefinitely.

Border disputes with Ethiopia remain unresolved.

Eritrea has a mixed legal system based on civil, customary, and Islamic religious law.

Eritrea's 1997 Constitution has not yet been implemented; drafting of a new Constitution began in 2014.


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