n Politeia - The issue of implementation enforcement : SADC’s power mediation in Madagascar

Volume 38 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0256-8845



This article argues that the international community is increasingly becoming involved in the domestic affairs of states and that this involvement can be described as part of international responsibility to promote peace and security. The role that an external party plays as a mediator in a transition or peace process is by definition a form of intervention. This article argues that this understanding of mediation should be broadened to include the responsibility to oversee the implementation (or enforcement) of the mediated agreement. The case of Madagascar (2009–2013) is used to investigate whether such enforcement is already accepted in practice and what some of the complications are. The article’s conclusions acknowledge that such a view of the mediator’s enforcement responsibility will be controversial, especially when mediation is used as a strategic instrument of power politics. In mediation, more attention is normally paid to its preparations and the negotiation process than to the implementation phase. Elections, as part of a transition process, create a critical tipping point for external enforcement, because after elections an external presence will be an unpopular idea for the national role players. Enforcement by actors who have sufficient power leverage is more viable than enforcement by mediators who have little power but a great deal of political or diplomatic authority (such as former presidents or senior diplomats). Implementation enforcement is more likely when it is motivated by interest-based considerations than by normative values. In conclusion, enforcement of agreement implementation is generally supported by the international community as a rhetorical exercise, but it is not yet embraced as a norm for international behaviour.

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