The Diverging Conflict Analyses of the United Nations and the African Union
8 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2013 Last revised: 7 Mar 2015
Date Written: September 27, 2013
International legal scholarship on the African Union has focused on the question whether international law allows the AU to intervene militarily in its member states in the absence of authorization by the UN Security Council. The reality of recent practice, however, has revealed the opposite scenario: the AU has often not intervened, even when not only its own Constitutive Act, but also international law on the use of force more generally, allowed it. Indeed, in some situations, the African Union opposed the intervention that the UN had authorized. These remarks made at the Annual Conference of the American Society of International Law explore one possible explanation. It argues that differences in views between the United Nations and the African Union on how to resolve crises in Africa have stemmed from the different lenses through which they have looked at these crises. The different lenses explain disagreements between the AU and the UN about how a conflict is framed. As a result of different framing, the AU and UN differ in their analyses of the conflict and in their theories of change, in other words, in how the situation can be transformed from one of conflict into one of (relative) peace.
Keywords: regional organisations, frames, conflict resolution, international criminal law
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