n African Security Review - The conundrum of conditions for intervention under article 4(h) of the African Union Act : essay

Volume 17, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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The definition of the AU right of intervention, in its present formulation, is problematic and implementation is contentious. The question of how to determine the 'deterioration' threshold after which a situation ceases to be a matter essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of a state has not yet been settled. The various thresholds for intervention in article 4(h) are subjective given that the justice of warfare is such that one side's heroes are regarded as the other side's war criminals; there is still a lack of consensus on what constitutes genocide; and it is debatable if intervention, which is invariably reactive, would be effective in bringing perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice. The AU right of intervention is potentially a pro-sovereign doctrine with the aim of reinforcing states' responsibility to exercise their sovereignty. To realise this intention of the framers of the AU Act, there is a need to broaden the definition of the thresholds for purposes of intervention - or to put it starkly, prevention - while maintaining the international definitions for purposes of prosecutions.

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