The Modern Practice of Intervention by Invitation in Africa and its Implications for the Prohibition of the Use of Force

Posted: 8 Jan 2015  

Erika De Wet

Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

Date Written: January 6, 2015

Abstract

The article examines how two prominent criteria for permissible military intervention by invitation as developed in doctrine are currently implemented by States, as well as how this impacts the prohibition of the use of force. Controversies concern in particular the determination of the authority entitled to extend the invitation, as recently illustrated by the Russian claim that its military intervention in the Crimea was based on the invitation of (former) President Yanukovych. Does the inviting authority need to enjoy democratic legitimacy and/ or be in de facto control of a State’s territory? Furthermore, it remains highly contentious whether an invitation for forcible intervention may be extended during a civil war. By analysing modern State practice in Africa -- where most of the contemporary invitations for military assistance occur -- and comparing it to recent developments in other regions, the author concludes that effective control rather than democratic legitimacy is (still) the point of departure for determining the legitimate government of a State. Once recognized, incumbent governments enjoy a large discretion when inviting military assistance from foreign governments. They seem to retain the right to military assistance even in situations of civil war and while exercising limited control over the territory.

Keywords: military intervention, use of force, UN Charter, recognition

Suggested Citation

De Wet, Erika, The Modern Practice of Intervention by Invitation in Africa and its Implications for the Prohibition of the Use of Force (January 6, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2545723 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2545723

Erika De Wet (Contact Author)

Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria ( email )

Physical Address Economic and Management Sciences
Pretoria, Gauteng 0002
South Africa

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