Mass humanitarian atrocities – many of them perpetrated by governments against their own people – continue to wreak havoc across Africa. These crises demand decisive action by the African Union (AU), the intergovernmental organisation that presides over peace and security on the continent. Since its formation, the AU has established a set of norms and institutions that reflect the principles of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and by its own declaration, has shifted its approach away from the notion of ‘non-interference’ (as espoused by its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity) to a new position of ‘non-indifference’.
However, despite its rhetorical commitment to the implementation of R2P, the AU’s handling of the 2010 Côte d’Ivoire crisis was so weak that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) authorised an intervention led by France. The incapacity of the AU to resolve the conflict raised questions about the organisation’s rhetoric of ‘African solutions to African problems’.
This study analyses the AU’s handling of the Côte d’Ivoire crisis, and thereby implicitly investigates the organisation’s challenges in operationalizing the R2P in Africa. The methodology of an extensive literature survey is employed to gather evidence of conceptual and institutional deficiencies within the AU, and possible coordination problems between the AU, ECOWAS and the UNSC in their management of African conflicts. The purpose of the study is thus to contribute to the wider intellectual discourse on R2P operationalization, and specifically aimed at strengthening the AU’s ability to implement its own peace and security agenda.
Mini-dissertation (MSecurity Studies)--University of Pretoria, 2015.