n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The role of the African Union in combating piracy

Special Edition 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The author starts by stressing that the role of the African Union (AU) in combating piracy must be assessed taking into account the fundamental legal characteristics of international organisations and the fact that there are other role players and legal tools at global, regional and national levels, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The article then continues with an analysis of the institutional framework within which the organisation operates and the contribution that each AU organ has made to combat piracy, after which the focus shifts to the broader security framework and the role of the main security instruments and structures. Thereafter, attention turns to the broader maritime framework, including the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy. The study shows that, during the last decade, most AU institutions made contributions within their respective functions in the overall architecture of the organisation. The struggle against piracy is also a prominent feature of the AU security framework and the AU maritime framework. Ultimately, however, the limited powers of the organisation inevitably constrain its overall contribution. The nature of the latter is therefore mixed when it comes to addressing the challenges to which one is confronted when attempting to establish jurisdiction and successfully prosecute individuals accused of piracy.

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