1 The new African peace and security architecture: Evolution, opportunities and challenges Itziar Ruiz-Gimenez Arrieta African Studies Group Autonomous University of Madrid Paper for presentation at the panel Regional Powers and Security Complexes in Africa and Asia IPSA- ECPR Joint Conference, São Paulo, February 2011 First draft. Please do not cite without permission. Abstract: A spectacular increase in actions and policies focussing on peacebuilding has taken place, occupying a prominent place in the international political agenda of the post-cold war period. This surge has opened an extensive academic debate on the concepts of peacebuilding and statebuilding, as well as the actions of the so-called liberal peace complex and United Nations peace missions. At the same time numerous African initiatives have emerged, including a new peace and security architecture (headed mainly by the African Union), which have not been closely analysed. Therefore, this paper proposes to examine critically the main strengths and weaknesses of the new African peace agenda, which is informed by ideas such as African solutions to African problems, responsibility to protect and the politics of non-indifference. Key words: armed conflicts in Africa, peacebuilding, architecture of peace and security, African Union. 1.- Introduction Over the past two decades a revolution has taken place in the world of peacebuilding; a broad spectrum of international actors (states and inter-governmental organisations), as well as regional and national actors, devote enormous efforts, human resources and materials to the resolution of internal conflicts. In the process they have formed what M. Duffield (2003) calls the liberal peace complex. This revolution has generated, particularly in the past few years, a wide-ranging academic and political debate on humanitarian interventions, peacebuilding, statebuilding, human security, and responsibility to protect (henceforth R2P). Much has also been written about the successes and failures of the liberal peace complex and, especially, peace missions led by the UN and regional organisations. Africa has been one of the principal stages where new instruments have been tried out, refining them for subsequent export (Adam Branc, 2008). The continent has not, however, been a mere
2 object of intervention, given that Africans themselves have played a prominent role in this revolution. They have implemented several initiatives, including the creation of a new African peace and security architecture (APSA) informed by concepts such as African solutions to African problems, R2P, and the more home-grown idea of the politics of non-indifference which aspires to act in the complex and difficult world of the resolution of African conflicts. This presentation aims first to examine critically the creation and evolution of the new APSA, taking into account both endogenous dynamics and exogenous factors. Second, the main characteristics, norms and institutions will be analysed, as well as the challenges facing the new APSA. Although other aspects could be discussed (such as the actions of subregional organisations ECOWAS, SADC and IGAD), this presentation will focus on the main organisation, the African Union, to analyse its evolution and insertion in the international peacebuilding agenda. The aim is to contribute to the debate within the discipline of international relations on the role of less powerful states in the configuration of international regimes and the international agenda. 2.- Creation and evolution of the new African peace and security architecture. Four spheres have influenced the creation and evolution of APSA: a) the evolution of the international political context; b) the liberal peace complex agenda; c) internal dynamics in Africa; and, lastly d) the experience gained in post-conflict contexts. The changes (and continuity) in these fields account for the type of institutionalisation and the evolution of the new APSA, which has been analysed by dividing it in three phases: : Abandoning the politics of indifference and the growing support for coercive humanitarian diplomacy. During the cold war, African countries were staunch defenders of the negative sovereignty regime and the then prevailing non-intervention doctrine. Totally opposed to international intervention in internal conflicts, they denied the legality and legitimacy of military intervention, including those considered of humanity 1 (N. Wheeler, 2000). This antagonism was manifested by the then Organisation of African Unity (1963). Its staunch defence of sovereignty and non-intervention, together with the fight against colonialism, the eradication of apartheid and the promotion of economic cooperation, became its identifying marks. This policy, known as indifference (B. Moller, 2009), manifested as inaction in most 1 The term of humanity interventions is used to avoid the controversy surrounding the idea of humanitarian intervention. Although there is a consensus in the literature of international relations on the use of this term, some actors do not accept it, particularly in the humanitarian field.
3 internal conflicts of the cold war period (except in Congo , Biafra 1968 and Chad 1981). It was also reflected in the rejection of the humanity intervention by Tanzania in Uganda (N. Wheeler, 2000). Three reasons account for this African stance. First, the struggle against the civilising standard which, until then, had split societies in civilised, semi-civilised and barbarian or savage nations, which in turn had justified the conquest and colonisation of the continent by European powers. Second, African opposition to the interventionist policies and practices of the two superpowers, and its fear that the humanitarian discourse or the peace agenda was a smokescreen for the raison d`état of powerful countries. Third, the African wish to render the colonial borders inviolable so as not to open the Pandora s box of border conflicts and to hamper the expansionist policies of neighbouring countries. During the nineties, this staunch defence of the non-intervention principle gradually changed into growing African support for the normative revolution in the area of sovereignty. This revolution spurred the emergence of new legitimising sovereignty principles (democracy and human rights), new security concepts (human security), and new roles for international organisations in the area of peace and security (I. Ruiz-Gimenez, 2005). Non-intervention gave way to the idea that international society should do something in situations of massive human rights violations and internal conflicts. Although African actors are often portrayed as passive subjects or objects of intervention, they were in fact the prime movers behind this normative revolution. Many supported the peace agenda of the Egyptian diplomat Boutros-Ghali, the breaking of the deadlock in the UN Security Council and the expansion of peace missions. One African organisation, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was the first to carry out a humanity military intervention (Liberia, ) in the post-cold war period. In the early nineties, other humanity interventions also received African support, although not so prominently: Iraq (US and others, 1991), Somalia (UNITAF, ), Rwanda (France and token representations by Chad, Niger and Senegal, 1994), (I. Ruiz-Gimenez 2003). Other African political leaders promoted the new international peacebuilding agenda decisively: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (from Ghana), Nelson Mandela 3 and the Sudanese diplomat Francis Deng. The latter, (currently UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide), 2 ECOWAS intervened in Liberia almost a year before the operation Provide Comfort in the Iraqi Kurdistan which was considered by many as the first post-cold war humanity intervention. 3 In a famous speech at an OAU meeting in Ouagadougou Burkina Fasso in 1998, he stated that Africa has the right and duty to intervene in the fight against tyranny we must accept that we cannot use sovereignty as an excuse for not acting.
4 together with other academics, formulated for the first time the principle of R2P (F. Deng, 1996). This concept therefore arose from and for Africa and is intimately linked to its history over the past two decades. (E. Luck, 2008) The change in the African stance was particularly relevant in the case of Rwanda (1994). African states initially accepted the western position of inaction (evidenced by the withdrawal of UNOMIR) but, as they became aware of the magnitude of the genocide, they began to press unsuccessfully for a military intervention. Some countries (Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Egypt) even offered their troops. Nevertheless, the western non-intervention stance prevailed until, in June 1994, France initiated operation Turquoise which was motivated, in my opinion, more by geopolitical than humanitarian reasons (I. Ruiz-Gimenez, 2003: ). By then, the genocide had practically come to an end. The OAU was familiar with the normative revolution and a few changes were tentatively undertaken. In 1993 it created the Mechanism (later Centre) of Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution and gradually expanded its peace and security agenda. It began to act in internal conflicts 4 through mediation, the sending of electoral observers and peace missions (Rwanda , Burundi ). It also set up the Panel of Eminent Personalities (1998) to assess the failure of the international community during the Rwandan genocide and to learn lessons for the future. Thus it is evident that the African position had changed greatly since the cold war. Support for the new peacebuilding agenda was not unanimous, however. Some states (Zimbabwe, Tanzania) opposed the new coercive humanitarian diplomacy for fear that the powerful (western) countries might make take advantage, geopolitically, of such diplomacy. Other states (China, India, Yemen and Cuba, among others) also had misgivings. Among the supporters of the peacebuilding agenda, a clear consensus was lacking on what its functions were and what actions should be undertaken. Two models were proposed: the garrison and the humanitarian expedition models (C. Ramon Chornet 995:98). The former, which was advocated by the UN and its Secretary-Generals (Boutros Ghali and later Kofi Annan), recommended longer static missions with multiple functions: disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of combatants (DDR), demining, repairing of infrastructure, humanitarian assistance, resettlement of refugees and displaced persons, supervision of elections, and constitutional and judicial reform. The idea was being put forward that the UN 4 Congo, Gabon, Sierra Leona, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Nigeria, Cameroon, Lesotho and Comoros.
5 could contribute to a triple transition: security (by eliminating armed violence), and political and economic liberalisation. The expedition model, promoted by the US and other western countries in Iraq, Somalia and Rwanda, advocated a low-cost rapid intervention, focussing on military defence and humanitarian aid. The aim was to limit casualties and reduce to a minimum the economic, political and human costs associated with the garrison model. In some cases, both models were deployed in the same conflict which created contradictions and tensions (for example, in Somalia). The new peacebuilding agenda had some significant successes during this first period in the peace processes of: Nicaragua, Cambodia, Salvador, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola (which was later cut short), the return of Kurdish refugees to Iraq and the rescue of many victims. However, the setbacks in Somalia, Rwanda and Srebenica put an end to this initial phase, revealing the limitations of the liberal peace complex in terms of capacities and resources, in addition to bureaucratic and administrative problems in the running of new missions and their new functions. These reverses also demonstrated that western countries were not willing to throw their full weight behind the ambitious UN peacebuilding agenda. Moreover, Rwanda and Liberia also evidenced the risks of abuse and instrumentalisation of the coercive humanitarian diplomacy. As a result, the liberal peace complex was plunged into a crisis which gave way to a new phase and to different prescriptions to resolve African conflicts Second phase: African solutions to African problems In the second phase, the liberal peace complex determined to bolster the role of regional organisations, by insisting on the formula African solutions to African problems. This change reflected, on the one hand, the subduing of western euphoria regarding coercive humanitarian diplomacy and, on the other, the UN institutional crisis brought on by the failures in Somalia, Rwanda and Srebrenica which evidenced that the UN was overstretched. This crisis gave rise to several proposals to reform the peace missions (the Brahimi report, 2000) and led to the withdrawal of the UN from Africa: the number of missions fell from seven in 1993 to three in 1999, and troop deployment was reduced from 40,000 in 1993 to 1,600 in June G. Berman and K. Sams point out that in a period of growing challenges to African peace and security, UN peacekeepers were conspicuously absent from the region and, when present, their participation was substantially marginal. (2000:4-5)
6 Internal changes in regional African organisations contributed to the modification of the international agenda. In this second phase, ECOWAS intervened in Sierra Leona (1991, 1998), Guinea-Bissau (1999) and Ivory Coast (2003). The South African Development Community (SADC), led by South Africa, sent troops to Lesotho (1997) to overthrow a coup d état. The OUA sent peace missions to Comoros ( ), Ethiopia-Eritrea (2000), and DRC (1999). Although western countries refused to contribute troops to UN missions, they supported the increasing involvement of regional African organisations with initiatives such as the African Crises Response Initiative of the Bush administration. Despite international support for African solutions, some sceptical voices warned of the huge problems that regional African organisations had in terms of capacity, resources and logistics (B Francke, 2006). It also became evident that their alleged advantages (better knowledge of the countries and of the causes and dynamics of the conflicts; greater cultural, social and historical affinity; closeness to the actors in the conflict, and keener interest in finding solutions) could also become drawbacks (E. Berman et al, 2000; K Powell, 2005; A. Ghebremeskel, 2002). Generally speaking, internal conflicts tend to be deeply regionalised and internationalised; as a result, the governments of the region and also international actors (including western countries) tend to have opposing interests. On the one hand they are peacekeepers and, on the other, they may be directly involved in the genesis and continuation of the armed violence through military and political support to the rival forces, and participation in the transnational networks involved in the trafficking of natural resources and weapons. Neighbouring countries often became part of the problem (Liberia, DRC, Sierra Leone and Somalia) rather than part of the solution. The combined effect led to a new feeling of failure, which hastened the transition to the third phase, which is the present situation The creation and consolidation of a new peace and security architecture by the African Union ( ) Between 1999 and 2002, the OAU 5 gradually became a different organisation with new principles, norms, and organs, and a new peace and security architecture. The policy of nonintervention officially became one of non-indifference (A. Konare 2000, M. Mwanasali, 2008) whereby the defence of human rights and democracy replaced the fight against colonialism and apartheid as the main characteristics of the new organisation. 5 At a meeting in Sirte (Libya), the OAU agreed on the creation of the UA, and the constituting act was approved in Lome (Togo) on 11 June It came into effect on 9 July 2002 in Durban (South Africa).
7 This transformation could not be simply attributed to the west because internal African dynamics had also contributed. The so-called second African liberalisation, whereby most African states formally became democracies, was a significant factor. Despite the academic debate surrounding the impact of the democratising wave that swept the continent, there is no doubt that the language of democracy and human rights has permeated the discourse of the political élites, African society and donors. Second, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the independence of Namibia, and the end of long-standing conflicts (in Ethiopia and Mozambique) strengthened the idea of an African renaissance. Third, in the global context of the intensification, expansion and deepening of a new regionalism 6, a pan-african discourse reappeared which supported the strengthening of regional organisations in order to tackle the challenges on the continent (I Mandaza et al, 2002, C Landsberg, 2004:117, F. Söderbaum & B. Hettle, 2010: 13). Fourth, the belief that international society was not especially concerned about African problems (B. Kioko, 2003:821) and had failed in Burundi, Somalia and Rwanda, gained ground. Increasingly, voices were heard in favour of the idea that Africa must unite in order to address those (and other) challenges (J. Sarkin, 2009), and that African states should intervene in African conflicts (A. Mazrui, 1997:203). All these factors contributed to the creation of several initiatives to transform the OAU, some led by the main regional powers, ranging from the most revolutionary project of pan-african unity proposed by the Libyan government 7, to the more gradualist proposals by Nigeria (an African conference of Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation) and South Africa (a New initiative for Africa ) (B. Moller, 2009:7-8). Following lengthy negotiations, African states agreed on an intermediate position the creation of a new organisation, the African Union which, among other new features, would have a new peace and security architecture (see below, Section 3). These dynamics within Africa were bolstered by changes in the international agenda. At the beginning of the millennium, international concern for African conflicts increased exponentially 8. Western countries reappeared in African interventions led by the United Kingdom in Sierra Leone (2000), France in Ivory Coast (2002) 9 and the European Union in DRC (Operation Artemis, 2003). The UN also substantially increased its presence in the continent which became the main theatre of operations owing to the high number of missions 6 EU, ASEAN, Mercosur, NAFTA, ECOWAS, SADC, among others. 7 Gaddafi made two proposals at the Sirte meeting: one was to found a United States of Africa, following the federal model of the United States, and the other was a Union of African states (the USSR model). 8 Several reports testify to this increasing concern: Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes (2004), and the Secretary-General s report In Larger Freedom (2005). 9 France maintained a significant military presence in Africa with bases in Djibouti, Senegal and Gabon, and a large contingent (4,600 soldiers) in Ivory Coast.
8 (over 20), the budget spent, and personnel deployed. 10 However, in this new phase, non-western states (among them Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and China 11 ) supplied most of the troops, as western countries were extremely reluctant to contribute to UN missions. The international context was very different to that of the early nineties. First, the NATO intervention in Kosovo had led to wide-ranging debate on the legitimacy and legality of military interventions of humanity, on the convenience (or otherwise) of bowing to the Security Council, and other issues. Many considered that the new peacebuilding agenda could (and should) be an instrument of justice capable of responding to cases such as Rwanda. Others, on the contrary, warned against its instrumentalisation by powerful countries 12. They insisted that coercive humanitarian diplomacy had been, for a long time, an instrument of civilisation inserted in the expansionist and imperialist logic of the west (I. Ruiz-Gimenez, 2005). This debate was reflected, secondly, in the report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) set up by the Canadian government. Reworking the ideas of F. Deng, the Commission reflected the growing international consensus that sovereignty meant the primary responsibility in this regard rests with the state concerned. Furthermore, it underlined that it is only if the state is unable or unwilling to fulfill this responsibility, or is itself the perpetrator, that it becomes the responsibility of the international community to act in its place 13 Thus the principle of R2P reappeared with force on the international agenda, giving rise to intense international debate (G.Evans, 2008, A. Bellamy, 2008, A. Hehir, 2008) which culminated in September 2005 when the UN General Assembly unanimously approved R2P and its three dimensions: prevent, react and rebuild 14. Yet again, we find that many African countries expressly supported R2P, as witnessed by the Ezulwini Consensus 15. Although the reasons accounting for the acceptance of R2P by international society were diverse, it is important to highlight one that had paradoxical effects: the impact of the attacks on 11 September By defending the primacy of national security, the US-led war on terror questioned the normative force of human rights discourse. On the other hand, it transformed 10 The UN intervened in Burundi (BINUB), Chad (MINURCAT), Ivory Coast (UNOCI), Liberia (UNMIL), Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), Etiopia-Eritrea (UNMEE), Sahara (MINURSO), Sierra Leona (UNAMIS), Sudan (UNMIS), among others. In 2008, of 20 missions worldwide, 10 were in Africa; their budget totalled $7,000 million and over 70% of the personnel deployed. 11 With 1,200 blue helmets in missions such as those in the Western Sahara, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia/Eritrea and DRC. 12 For example, the Non-Aligned Movement rejected the concept in Habana in 2000 and in February Idem, paragraph With some modifications of the principles stated by the ICISS. 15 AU, 2005: The Common African Position on the proposed reform of the UN: The Ezulwini Consensus, 7 th Extraordinary session of the Executive Council of the AU, Addis Ababa 7-8 March.
9 African conflicts (and the so-called failed states ) into a global threat. Suddenly they became the main breeding ground of international terrorism, transnational organised crime and immigration. Thus they were not solely an African problem (as they had been considered during the second phase discussed above) but had now become a potential source of insecurity for western countries and, as such, a priority in the western security agenda. These countries had a renewed interest in African conflicts, and in initiating counter-terrorism operations in Somalia, Nigeria and the Sahel 16. Western interest (and of the emerging powers China, Brazil and India) in oil and natural resources on the continent also increased. Africa was now firmly on the global geopolitical map. These changes resulted in shifts in the liberal peace complex agenda. First, there was a growing institutionalisation as more human and economic resources were allocated to peacebuilding (J.K. Boyce, 2002). Second, the garrison model became the preferred option as it encompassed an integrated intervention strategy including the necessary security, political and economic reforms to rebuild the state and make it democratic and free. However, the nineties focus on political liberalisation had now shifted to statebuilding, and specifically the security dimension. Third, a twofold and informal division of work was consolidated. On the one hand, the western countries and NATO centred their military operation in Europe and the Middle East, while the UN dealt with the rest of the world, particularly Africa and Asia (De Coning 2006). On the other, the UN s increasing prominence did not lead to the withdrawal of African regional organisations. On the contrary, they appear to have split the workload. The African organisations (and particularly the African Union) were responsible for the initial disembarkation and stabilisation of the situation, and the UN developed the remaining integrated intervention strategy. 3.- The incipient African peacebuilding regime: norms, principles and institutions. The international and African contexts in the early 2000s account for the establishment of an incipient African peacebuilding regime with new norms, institutions, actors and agendas. However, a decisive step in this process was the transformation of the OAU into the AU (2002), and the development of APSA, which can be defined by five main features: First, the AU drew up new norms and policies in the area of peace and security. In addition to the Ezulwini consensus and the AU constitutive act (see below, Section 4.1), the following documents are noteworthy: the Declaration on the framework for an OAU response to 16 The US created AFRICOM, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative, the Joint Task Force Aztec Silence, the East African Counterterrorism Initiative (EACTI with $100 million) and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
10 unconstitutional changes of government (Lome Declaration) in , the Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the AU (July 2002) 18, the Common African Defence and Security Policy (CADSP) in 2004, the AU Non-Agression Common Defence Pact (AUNACDP) in 2005, and the Framework for rebuilding and post-conflict 19, among others. The most noteworthy developments in these norms is the promotion of gender equality and social justice, condemnation of unconstitutional changes of government, and the possibility that the AU could carry out a military intervention in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, or a serious threat to the legitimate order (Art. 4 Charter. See below Section 4.1). Second, the AU established APSA. The permanent AU organs, (namely the Heads of State, Executive Council, Permanent Representatives Committee, the Commission and the new Pan- African Parliament) have functions in the area of peace and security, in addition to which the following structures which make up the APSA were established: 3.1. a) The Peace and Security Council (PSC) 20 with a mandate of conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance, post-war rebuilding, promotion of a common defence policy, imposition of sanctions, as well as requesting the assembly of Heads of State to authorise a military intervention in cases established in Article 4 of the AU Charter. The PSC was launched in March 2004 and since then meets frequently to deal with peace and security issues. Similar to the UN Security Council, it is made up of 15 member states although there are no permanent members with a right to veto. Five states, one per region, are elected for three years and the other ten for two years. The election depends formally on criteria of geographical representation, and financial and political commitment to the AU, but it also depends on their respect for constitutional government, rule of law and human rights (Art. 5.2g). Although some countries appear to be almost permanent members (Nigeria, Algeria, Ethiopia and Gabon 21 ), 35 of the 53 African states have formed part of the Council since it was set up, which shows growing interest in the new APSA 22. Some authors (P. Williams, 2010) have 17 Declaration on the framework for an OUA Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government (36 th session of Heads of State and Government of the OAU, Lome, Togo, July AHG/Decl 5 (XXXVI) 18 It came into effect in December 2003 when it was ratified by the required 27 states. 19 This derived from the African Post-Conflict Reconstruction Policy Framework created by the New Partnership for Africa s development (NEPAD) in Created by the Protocol relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. 21 This not the case of the other hegemonic superpower, South Africa, which alternates with Angola. 22 During the period , the PSC members were: Algeria, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Tunisia, Benin, Burundi, Chad, Mali, Rwanda, Uganda, Swaziland and Zambia.
11 criticised, however, the presence of authoritarian regimes (eg, Libya and Sudan), which goes against the Protocol. Others point out that, in practice, the culture of consensus results in the existence of a certain right of veto, and that the almost permanent presence of the subregional powers on the PSC reflects a certain level of hierarchy among African states (K. Sturman & A. Hayatou 2010: 67). 3.1.b) The Panel of the Wise was officially launched in December It supports and advises the PSC through the use of good offices, mediation, conciliation and research 24. It is made up of five eminent personalities (two of whom are currently women) 25, experts in peacebuilding and who, since they joined the panel in February 2008, have acted in the Central African Republic, Somalia and Sudan 26. In the opinion of many authors, this institution has inherited, and reflects, a long African tradition of conflict resolution which values the wisdom, good will and abilities of elderly people (T. Murithi & C. Mwaura, 2010: 79-80) 27. It also reflects the commitment to African solutions to African problems (A.Jegede, 2009:418). Nevertheless, lack of funding and personnel, the small number of members, and the fixed membership all of which are hindrances to its work have been criticised. Some have advocated for a pool of experts, similar to that of ECOWAS, which enables wise people to be chose ad hoc, depending on the characteristics of each conflict. Further criticism identifies lack of coordination and overlapping between the Panel and other AU institutions and the UN. It also underlines the political difficulties of the panel s work in conflict prevention given that countries are usually reluctant to admit they have domestic problems until the conflict actually breaks out (T. Murithi & C. Mwaura, 2010: 79-89) c) The AU Commission includes the Peace and Security Commissary and the Peace and Security Directorate which play a similar role to that of the UN Department of Peacekeeping, 23 Although they were selected in January 2007, their norms of functioning (Modalities for the Functioning of the Panel of the Wise) were not agreed on until December Articles 6.b and 11 of the PSC Protocol. 25 Article 11.2 of the PSC Protocol. With a three-year mandate, the members of the panel are: Salim Ahmed, former OAU secretary-general; Brigalia Bam, chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa; Ahmed Ben Bella, former president of Algeria; Elisabeth K. Pognon, president of the Constitutional Court of Benin; and Miguel Trovoada, former president of São Tomé and Príncipe. 26 In the case of Sudan, they stated their concern over the indictment of the president by the ICC. On this, see T Murithi & C Mwaura, (2010: 86:88). 27 These authors, however, see big differences between the Panel of the Wise and the traditional role of a council of elders : the mediation is not public, the Panel lacks the authority to impose decisions, it has few human and financial resources, and it adopts a gender perspective which the traditional mechanisms made up exclusively of men do not have. The authors also indicate that the traditional councils of elders act on a small scale, at community or regional level.
12 (barring a huge difference in resources) 28. PSC decisions are implemented through several divisions: the Conflict Management Division (CMD) 29, the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) 30, the Defence and Security Commission, and the Darfur Integrated Task Force. The Commission is responsible for coordination between the AU and sub-regional organisations and international actors (the UN and donors, among others) d) The existing subregional organisations (such as ECOWAS, SADC, and IGAD) have formally become part of the new APSA as the five regional economic communities (RECs) as a practical and natural solution to try and create integration and cooperation in a continent as heterogeneous and immense as Africa (K. Bogland et al 2009:8) 31. (See below 4.3 and map in the Annex) e) The Continental Early Warning System is responsible for monitoring possible crisis situations and political instability on the continent in order to act preventively. 32 According to several studies, this system is highly under-developed, and suffers a dearth of personnel and material resources which makes its work enormously difficult. Other significant criticism focuses on the structural disconnection between this system and the high-level decision-making processes within the AU; political considerations tend to prevail over warnings which further impedes the AU s prevention efforts (H Wolf & T Debiel, 2009 E. Wane et al 2010). 3.1.f) The African Standby Force (ASF) will consist of an African Rapid Intervention Force responsible for carrying out multiple tasks: preventive deployment, rapid intervention, and peacekeeping and imposition of peace, among others. 33 It comprises five multinational brigades 34 drawn from the RECs, thus taking advantage of their structures, capacities, experience, resources, regional legitimacy, and knowledge of local conflicts (K. Bogland, 2008:8). The Force was planned for June 2010 so that it would be ready to deploy in more 28 The Peace and Security Commissary and the Peace and Security Directorate employ eight people, while that UN Peacekeeping Department totals over It consists of an early warning unit, and a conflict resolution and post-conflict unit. 30 It has two units: the Operations and Support Unit, an African Standby Force and the Military Staff Committee. 31 The five regions are: East Africa coordinated by IGAD, West Africa by ECOWAS, South Africa by SADC, Central Africa led by ECCAS, and the Maghreb by the Arab Maghreb Union. 32 It has two components: the Situation Room (an observation and supervision centre) at the AU head office, which supports and coordinates all activities; and subregional observation units. The most developed ones are those of ECOWAS and IGAD. 33 It will comprise five multinational brigades, one in each region: ECOBRIG in West Africa, SADCBRID in southern Africa, EASBRIG in East Africa, the North African Brigade and the Central African Brigade. 34 A sixth, continental, brigade has been planned; the headquarters will be in Addis Abbaba, with a capacity for 15,000 to 20,000 soldiers.
13 complex missions, but the launch has been delayed 35. The ASF is receiving substantial investment from the AU, donors and the UN through the Special Peace Fund 36 (J Cilliers & J. Pottgieter, 2010). Fourth, although it has only been in existence for eight years and is still in the process of being developed, APSA has undertaken several initiatives. It has condemned several unconstitutional government changes (Guinea, Madagascar and Mauritania, Togo and the Central Africa Republic) by suspending their membership of the AU until they restore democratic legality 37. It has also taken action in a wide range of conflict situations: Burundi, Comoros, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and, in particular DRC, Somalia and Sudan. 38 These actions have varied from mediation and electoral supervision (20 countries 39 ) to peace missions in Burundi, Comoros, Darfur (Sudan) and Somalia. The latter were initially missions of the expedition model, but in Burundi and Sudan, they were quickly replaced by UN or hybrid missions. 40 However, in none of these cases has Article 4(h) of the Charter been invoked, and in all cases the consent of the state being intervened was obtained. A significant characteristic of the new APSA has been the broad range of diverse actors with different views, agendas and interests who have participated in its creation and evolution. In addition to African states, the UN and western donors, it is noteworthy that a wide range of research centres and African and international NGOs have contributed to the process 41. These have also included several women s organisations who have tentatively promoted a gender agenda within the AU, although its insertion has not yet been consolidated. Similar to the international peacebuilding agenda, the new APSA is a normative space which reflects a diversity of ideas, rather than just the positions of the most powerful countries (be they western countries or regional powers, see below Section 4). The new agenda is in fact the result of numerous debates and negotiations in which not all the actors are of equal stature; the more 35 Preparation was envisaged in two phases: the initial one (30 June 2005) to capacitate the missions to carry out military observation; by the end of the second phase ( ), missions would be ready to deploy in more complex missions. The creation of a pool of experts in human rights, humanitarian issues, PDDR, and rebuilding efforts has bee promoted, and these experts would provide the civilian personnel for missions. Policy Framework for the Establishment of the African Standby Force and the Military Staff Committee. 36 In 2008 the AU approved a $140 million budget, of which $106.5 comes from member states. 37 AU Doc PSC/PR/Comm-XXV, 25 February Au Doc Assembly/AU/Decl 3, VI, on the activities of the AU PSC and the state of peace and security on the continent. 39 In 2002, the AU adopted the Declaration on the principles governing democratic elections in Africa. 40 On these missions see, for example, K. Power, 2005, K. Anning and S Atuobi, 2009, A. Herro et al, A. Mansaray, 2009, and E. Svensson, For example the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), Safer-Africa, the Centre for Conflict Resolution, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), the African Peace Forum (APFO, Kenya), the West African Network for Peace (WANEP, Ghana), and the African Human Security Initiative (AHSI) (S. Klingebiel, 2005: 441).
14 powerful actors have the capacity to influence the agenda, but in the process of negotiation, they cannot simply impose their agenda on other actors and, as a result, the demands of the more powerful actors have been modified. 4.- Principle features and challenges of the new African peace and security agenda A new policy of non-indifference towards internal conflicts and serious human rights crises The Constitutive Act of the AU inherited some of the concepts underpinning the former OAU: sovereign equality (Art. 4.a), non-intervention (4g), uti possidetis (Art. 4.b), the prohibition of the use of force and the peaceful resolution of disputes (Art. 4.e, 4.f, 4.i). But it also features some new principles: first, it recognises democracy and human rights (Art. 4.m) as the cornerstone of its new identity and the possibility of sanctioning states that do not respect these 42. Second, it recognises that the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent is a priority (Art. 3) and it assumes multiple functions in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in post-war rebuilding. It also advocates for the creation of a common defence policy (Art. 3.d and 4.d). Thus the AU became the first international organisation to institutionalise the three dimensions of R2P, although its constitutive act does not expressly mention these principles. Another innovative aspect of the Charter is that, for the first time in an international treaty, the right to intervene in a state in cases of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity is expressly recognised (Art. 4h) 43. In February 2003 a new proviso was added: serious threat to legitimate order to restore peace and stability to a Member. Some authors refer to this as an intervention in defence of democracy (A. Jegede, 2009:424), but others question its ambiguity which could be used to support regimes whether they are democratic or not (B. Kioko, 2003:814, E Baimu & K Sturman, 2003). The specific recognition of military intervention for reasons of humanity does not exempt this expression of controversy. As would happen internationally, the possible activation of Article 4h of the AU Charter would be subject to enormous tensions within the organisation, and between AU political will and its capacity to intervene not to mention the political agendas of member states. Although there is no veto in the PSC, the need to obtain a two-thirds majority in the Assembly of Heads of State to activate this article requires a broad consensus among 42 Article 4 and Article A two-thirds majority in the Assembly of Heads of State is needed to authorise such an intervention. This article was promoted in particular by South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique and Senegal.
15 African states which, as in the west, often have contradictory agendas not necessarily consistent with the AU s new identity. Zimbabwe and Sudan reflect this contradiction. In the former case, many African states refused to condemn the exceedingly controversial re-election of Robert Mugabe as president in March In the case of Sudan, however, the AU s position was unanimous in opposing President Bashir s indictment by the International Criminal Court, which the Union considered could endanger the peace process. This vote was contrary to the AU charter given the evidence of the Sudanese government s implication in violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur, as such violations come under Art. 4 of the Charter (K. Anning & S. Atuobi, 2009). African countries are not, therefore, neutral peace deliverers as they promote their own agendas, interests, and double standards. It is important to point out that this conduct is no different to other countries (western countries, China and India, among others) which often interpose other logics (geopolitical and economic) over the defence of democracy and human rights. As a result, the international and African peacebuilding agendas are selective, incoherent and contradictory, all of which weakens and undermines the very legitimacy of the UN, the liberal peace complex and the AU Staunch support for African solutions to African problems. AU norms attribute to the organisation the primary responsibility in the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent, over and above the UN and other countries. This view has two controversial aspects. First, the debate over the legality of military intervention by the AU under Article 4h of its Charter without the authorisation of the UN Security Council. Although the PSC protocol advocates cooperation, association and mutual responsibility between the UN and the AU, it does not specify the obligation to request such authorisation, as established in Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The AU s subsequent statements on the matter have been ambiguous. The Ezulwini consensus establishes that regional interventions should be authorised by the UN Security Council, but it also indicates that the authorisation could be given a posteriori when the circumstances require a rapid intervention. No AU norm details what would happen if the UN failed to authorise an intervention approved by the AU. 44 Resolution on Zimbabwe, (Assembly/ AU/Res. 1-XI) adopted at the 11 th AU Meeting in Sharm-el Sheikh in Egypt, 24 June-1 July Available at
16 While some authors (B. Moller, 2009:9) consider that this prerogative is contrary to international public law (J. Sarkin, 2009:5-6), others uphold that AU interventions outside the UN framework would be a new legal element. Within the AU, there is resistance to the idea that the AU should depend on the Security Council s political agenda and some point out that if Africans have to wait for the UN, people will die as happened in Rwanda. 45 Many Africans support the expansion of the AU on the assumption that African intervention has far more legitimacy than the willing coalitions from the west or UN missions (which depend on the Security Council s political agenda) (B Francke, 2006:6). Consequently, some authors (Aning, 2008) consider that, while recognising the primacy of the UN in peacekeeping and security, the AU reserves for itself an interventionist role which only reverts to the UN when necessary. Second, despite the unanimous support for African solutions to African problems, international debate currently focuses on the relations of association and collaboration between the AU and the UN. 46 In Darfur, Somalia and Burundi, the AU disembarked with a rapid intervention force to create stability for the UN disembarkation and its subsequent implementation of the integrated intervention strategy. This division of labour is considered by some authors to be a positive and mutually beneficial development as it allow[s] the international community to address all conflicts in Africa in a serious manner and it is mutually beneficial because such a division of labour appears to play into the strengths and compensate for the weaknesses of both types of organisations (B. Francke, 2006:10). However, others point out that there is a fundamental misconception, misunderstanding and misperception of what such partnerships entail and what should be the guiding principles of the relationship (K. Aning, 2008:8-9) From the rhetoric to the reality of AU capacities to realise its ambitious peacebuilding agenda. Many authors have examined in depth the challenges facing the new APSA. They criticise the enormous contradiction between its ambitious objectives and its critical weaknesses in terms of capacities and human and financial resources. First, they point to significant structural deficiencies in the AU head office; weak capacities and scarce resources, both in terms of personnel and logistics. Decision-making processes are not transparent, the institutional structure is fragmented, and personnel recruiting procedures are 45 Quoted in K. Power, 2009: In September 2008, following on Security Council Resolution 1809, the Secretary-General established a joint AU-UN panel to consider modalities for supporting regional peacekeeping operations under UN mandate, in particular start-up funding, equipment and logistics. The panel also considered the possibility of setting up a multi-donor trust fund that will be voluntarily financed.
17 ineffective with too many temporary contracts and low salaries, among other problems (N. Pirozzi, 2009:4). Second, serious problems have arisen in the deployment of field missions owing to the enormous shortages of resources and capacities in terms of equipment, training, transport, coordination and logistics. In fact, very much the same problems are experienced on many UN missions, although in the case of the AU, these difficulties are exacerbated by severe lack of funding. While it is unquestionable that the AU is playing a growing role in peacekeeping, their responses are slow and logistically clumsy. D. Baker highlighted the weak capacities of AMISON, while pointing out that it was not the only mission to reveal such shortcomings. (D. Baker, 2007:121). A more serious problem for AU peace missions are the immense difficulties involved in protecting the civilian population; African and international NGOs have denounced human rights violations by AU troops. Amnesty International (2010) reported that AMISON military offensives in the densely populated areas of Mogadishu endangered the lives of many civilians and violated international humanitarian law. These violations are not dealt with appropriately by the AU, the intervening states or donors a problem that has also been seen in UN peace missions. Mechanisms to investigate and prosecute such acts have not been created, nor the means to oblige troop-contributing countries to prosecute alleged offences. The absence of accountability could undermine the legitimacy of the new APSA, revealing as it does clear incoherencies between discourse and practice. Third, most international efforts focus on improving another major problem: lack of synergy and unnecessary duplication between continental and regional structures. As K. Bogland et al (2007:29) details, at least there are 42 different regional organisations and institutions in Africa with varying aims and ambitions, and many African states belong to two or three different one : this situation hinders the compliance by countries with the political and financial obligations they may have with each regional (or subregional) organisation. These organisations are also competing for the same international assistance funds. Some authors (K. Power, 2005, Juma & Mengistu, 2002) defend this new multilateral and decentralised architecture pointing to its comparative advantages (see above Section 2.2). Others recall that their proximity may also jeopardise the neutrality and impartiality of their actions (Bogland et al, 2007:37). Lack of transparency in sharing tasks between the AU and the RECs has also been criticised, as well as the different approaches, agendas, peacebuilding strategies, perception of threats and organisational culture (F. Söderbaum & B. Hettne, 2010:20, B. Francke, 2006:13).
18 Two opposing views stand out regarding this embryonic architecture: 1) that it only needs time and resources to develop fully, 2) that there is an inherent tension between AU ambitions and capacities and the real will of African states to contribute funds and human resources (K. Bogland et all, 2008:7, 42). Going beyond their official discourses, most countries do not appear to have the military or economic capacities to make significant contributions to APSA s ambitious agenda The functioning of APSA depends on the great African powers. Another important challenge for APSA is its dependence on the main regional powers (Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia and Uganda): these countries have the greatest capacity to deploy troops in the field, although with some limitations (J. Sarkin, 2009:33. K. Powell, 2009:16) 47. However, these countries maintain positions that contradict some of the APSA principles. On the one hand, they firmly support APSA as part of their efforts to enhance their international credibility and legitimacy. Nigeria, for example, led the ECOMOG interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and promoted the new peace and security architecture in ECOWAS. It has also actively participated in over 40 peace missions in Africa, Asia and Europe (A. Adebajo, 2007). After the fall of apartheid, South Africa tried to reconfigure its relations with neighbouring countries by promoting the SADC regional integration process and by being more involved in peace and security issues. 48 It carried out a controversial military intervention (with Botswana) in Lesotho (1998), and took part in UN and AU peace missions in Burundi, Sudan and DRC. 49 It also created the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Peace Fund (providing $50 million) with the aim of promoting democracy, development and security in the DRC conflict (E. Sidiropoulos, 2007). This support for the new African peacebuilding agenda stands in contradiction to other logics (geopolitical, economic, and internal) which means that these regional powers are often not seen as neutral peace deliverers by their neighbours (K. Power, 2005:16, F. Söderbaum & B. Hettne, 2010:29, A. Ghebremeskel, 2002). The interventions by Nigeria in Liberia and Sierra Leone, by Ethiopia in Somalia, and the South African stance in the case of Zimbabwe reveal the complexity of relations between the regional hegemonic powers and neighbouring countries (A. Adebajo, 2003). 47 Other countries that have contributed troops are Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leona and DRC. 48 Published in the White Paper on South African Participation in International Peace Missions. 49 South Africa contributes 8.5% of the budget of African Union.
19 In addition to these logics, other aspects could restrict the support given by the hegemonic regional powers to APSA: shortages in resources and capacities, the opposition of other countries and, above all, growing domestic resistance to foreign policies that divert funds to military matters, leading to loss of life. (F Kornegay & S Chesterman, 2000:12-14). The impact of the current global economic crisis may intensify the opposing voices and contribute to cooling the support of these powers (and all African countries) for APSA APSA is highly dependant on the liberal peace complex agenda. On account of the new western security agenda, APSA has gained widespread international support. Thus the EU (the AU s main donor) created a specific fund, the African Peace Facility (2004), most of which has been used to fund AU missions. 50 Some authors have criticised this allocation of development funds to security issues (M. Duffield, 2003). Other countries (Germany, Canada, Spain, the US 51, France, the UK and Sweden) have also made significant bilateral contributions to the new APSA. The G8 launched a Joint Africa: G-8 Plan in 2003, with the aim of improving African military capacities to undertake peace missions. 52 Such unequivocal support has led to deep paradoxes. In the context of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, AU appropriation of its peacebuilding agenda is limited by weaknesses, scarce resources, a high dependency on international funds and difficulties in complying with the requirements of over 130 donors (N. Pirozzi P2009:7). It has also been constrained by the different geopolitical, economic and ideological agendas of donor countries (I. Ruiz-Gimenez, 2007). It is no coincidence that the main AU missions have been to Sudan and Somalia, two countries that are currently high on the western agenda. Neither is it a coincidence that donors choose to specifically strengthen the military component of APSA (S. Klingebiel, 2005a:438, 446). As a result, the new division of labour whereby African soldiers (rather than western) deploy on the front line is consolidated. The rhetoric of dialogue and association between the AU and western countries is thus clouded by the marked tendency of western countries to project their normative power and to promote their values, views and agendas. A deeply unequal relation is created in which one side knows how to resolve the problems and the other side listens and executes the solutions. Some critical voices have warned against the current peacebuilding agenda because they see it as an instrument of civilisation, a new version of the heavy burden of the white man (M. Duffield, 50 But not the transfer of troops, their salaries or arms, as this fund belongs to the European Development Fund. 51 The US created the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) and in 1996, it had approved the African Crises Response Initiative with the aim of strengthening south-south missions. 52 Joint Africa: G-8 Plan to enhance African capacities to undertake peace and security operations adopted at the Evian meeting in 2003.
20 Chomsky, Crasmer). It also generates reluctance and resistance among African actors (T. Kwasi Tieku, 2007:27) Excessive emphasis on military solutions and on the securitisation of peacebuilding. The growing securitisation of the international peacebuilding agenda has resulted in APSA focussing its efforts disproportionately on building and consolidating its capacities to deploy a rapid military intervention force; this military emphasis has been criticised by several authors (S. Klingebiel, 2005:438). Far fewer funds have been assigned to improving early warning mechanisms, building up the Panel of the Wise and supporting peaceful resolution of conflicts, or to acting on the causes that generate armed violence (positive peace). Neither have such resources been earmarked to improve policies, programmes, organs and institutions that support economic development in Africa, the fight for gender equity, and the promotion of human rights. The insertion of APSA in the current international peacebuilding agenda means that criticism of the latter can also be turned towards the African agenda. First, because it supports the rebuilding of state orders which, in many cases, have not provided security or welfare for their populations. Although the aim is to reform these state orders, their military and security structures tend to retain commanders of the former authoritarian and repressive regimes, or of armed factions, many of whom have atrocious human rights records. Considerable funds are assigned to effective control of the population and few to accountability for human rights violations. The rebuilding of the security dimension of the state fails to contribute in itself to the protection of the population nor does it consolidate democracy (a primary objective of APSA); moreover, it can even be counterproductive (I.Ruiz-Gimenez, 2007) Diagnosis of the partial and distorted conflicts which have led to mistaken solutions. The AU appears to align itself with the liberal peace complex diagnosis of the causes of African conflicts. This diagnosis focuses on endogenous factors (state failure, poverty, underdevelopment and the greed of African war lords) and overlooks important exogenous factors: among them, the greed of western governments and transnational corporations (and other powers such as China, Brazil and India) for Africa s natural resources; arms sales; and the impact of international economic and trade policies which have contributed hugely to the crisis of African states and the deterioration of well-being in African societies. The most powerful countries in the world are, on the one hand, peacekeepers and, on the other, jointly responsible (together with certain African elites) for policies that have contributed to the genesis of armed
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