This article analyses the recent Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
military intervention in the Gambia, primarily focusing on possible legal bases for the
enforcement action. It examines the political situation following the release of the election
results and details the international response to the post-election situation in the Gambia.
Among the legal bases assessed include United Nations Security Council authorisation of
regional enforcement action under Chapter VIII of the U.N. Charter through Resolution
2337 (2017), intervention by invitation and consent through prior treaty. In so doing, the
article also illuminates the plausibility that the ECOWAS military intervention may be
considered as unilateral enforcement action, a point further stressed through an analysis
of prior ECOWAS interventions, most notable, the interventions into Sierra Leone and
Liberia. Moreover, the intervention in the Ivory Coast following the 2010–2011 postelection
crisis is also examined in showcasing the situational similarities between those
in the Ivory Coast and those in the Gambia. In so doing, the article inter alia, explores
the international legal framework pertaining to the prohibition of the threat and use of
force; analysing its nature as well as exceptions to it. Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter, read
together with Article 53, therefore form the backbone of the contribution.