SUMMONING THE NECESSARY POLITICAL WILL FOR PROTECTING CIVILIANS IN AFRICA "With the united ...
Never again should the international community’s response to these crimes be foundwanting. Let us resolve to take collecti...
protect civilians remains a priority in Africa. Yet the involvement of the internationalcommunity – and of African states ...
international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help states to exercise this responsibility.’xThe Africa...
From its inception, and as stated in article 2 of its Charter, the OAU was guided by two mainprinciples: the ‘sovereign eq...
The magnitude of instability that continued to plague Africa and the political circumstances ofthe post-Cold War continent...
3.3 The Ezulwini Consensus and the use of forceIn February 2005, 15 African foreign ministers gathered in Swaziland to for...
4.1. Darfur and political will in AfricaDespite African leaders’ pledge to never let another Rwanda happen again, they hav...
Political will to resolve African crises is lacking more generally at the international level. Arecent report from Action ...
the government in Khartoum make the situation stark. This highlights the need to strengthencontinental capacity in such sc...
concert is hampered by distrust and lack of a common normative framework for dealing withsecurity issues in Southern Afric...
geographically remote or of little interest to the media. Conversely, it seems that the closerthe crisis is to home, the g...
Despite the collective shame and regret expressed over the genocide in Rwanda, grossviolations of human rights, and mass k...
Yet significant progress will require sustained international attention at the highest politicallevels over a period of ye...
ix The Economist, ‘The United Nations – Can its creditability be repaired?’, 8 September 2005.x United Nations, ‘Declarati...
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/evil/etc/slaughter.htmlxx A report from the International Rescue Committee f...
xxviii Ann-Louise Colgan, op.cit. p. 9xxix Ibid. p. 9xxx Adebajo, A. & Scanlon, H (eds.): A Dialogue of the Deaf: Essays o...
xxxix Memorable Quotes and quotations from Vaclev Havel, at http://www.memorable-quotes.com/vaclev+h...
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Political Will paper

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
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Transcripts - Political Will paper

  • 1. SUMMONING THE NECESSARY POLITICAL WILL FOR PROTECTING CIVILIANS IN AFRICA "With the united and determined will, mountains can be moved" By Joseph Yav Katshung1. IntroductionIn September 2005, world leaders at the United Nations endorsed a historic declaration thatthe international community has a “responsibility… to help protect populations from genocide,ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity” and expressed a willingness totake timely and decisive action when states “manifestly fail” to protect their own populationsfrom these threats.iMember states of the African Union have been even more categorical in their support forhumanitarian intervention in the context of their own continent. The AU Constitutive Actdeclares “the right of the Union to intervene in a Member State in respect of gravecircumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity”.iiHowever, the statements of some African leaders have suggested very differentinterpretations of their commitment to protect vulnerable civilians. For instance, PresidentRobert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has declared that: The vision that we must present for a future United Nations should not be one filled with vague concepts that provide an opportunity for those states that seek to interfere in the internal affairs of other states. Concepts such as “humanitarian intervention” and the “responsibility to protect” need careful scrutiny in order to test the motives of their proponents.” iiiYet President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has asserted:
  • 2. Never again should the international community’s response to these crimes be foundwanting. Let us resolve to take collective actions in a timely and decisive manner. Let us alsocommit to put in place early warning mechanisms and ensure that preventive interventionsare the rule rather and the exception. ivClearly, the current circumstances and recent experiences of these respective countries havea major influence on their leaders’ approaches to Responsibility to Protect (R2P).Nevertheless, these conflicting attitudes raise serious questions over African leaders’willingness to fulfil their responsibilities to protect endangered civilians in practice. Ultimately,the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the AU will be judged on its responses tohumanitarian crises on its watch.This paper assesses the level of support among African leaders to follow through on theircommitment to R2P in practice and makes recommendations on how to enhance the will toact where it is seen to be lacking. Generating the political will to protect civilians remains apriority in Africa. The emerging African peace and security architecture provides a structurefor African efforts to implement R2P in practice. This paper traces the evolution of Africa’speace and security capability within a continental political context, focusing on shiftingapproaches to civilian protection. Yet the involvement of the international community – and ofAfrican states in particular – in seeking to promote peace and security remains ad hoc andinconsistent. One of the challenges is the gap between the commitment of governments torespond to humanitarian crises and the embodiment of this commitment into national foreignand defense policy. Given political realities in the world, intervention on humanitarian groundsin Africa will in all likelihood still depend on the political will of key member states thatdominate both the decision to intervene and the decision to make funds, troops, andequipment available, whether to the UN or an ad hoc multinational or regional force.Therefore, as there is a link between the political will to intervene and capacity to deploy, thispaper relates political will and capacity to the continental preparedness to intervene forhumanitarian purposes. It is notable that having a more robust, at-the-ready capacity tointervene would affect the political equation by removing the lack-of-capacity obstacle andexcuse, thereby unambiguously testing political will: whether member states would still say“no” in the face of a humanitarian disaster.2. The Responsibility to Protect Civilian Populations in African CrisesConflict, violence and religious radicalism continue to undermine the maintenance of peaceand security and the promotion of human rights in Africa. Generating the political will to
  • 3. protect civilians remains a priority in Africa. Yet the involvement of the internationalcommunity – and of African states in particular – in seeking to promote peace and securityremains ad hoc and inconsistent.Dictated by realpolitik, the timing and nature of appropriate collective security action remainscontentious. As the ICISS report stressed, controversy over intervention relates both toinactionv and actionvi (ICISS 2001). However, in recent years, many stakeholders in Africa andin the broader international community have recognised that serious questions of principleand practice relating to civilian protection need to be confronted in a much morecomprehensive way.In 2000, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) wasestablished to help shake the world out of its indifference and political paralysis. The ICISSreport released in 2001 advocated a duty upon the international community to protectpopulations when the government of a country fails to do that for themselves. It argued that: …there are exceptional circumstances in which the interest that all states have in maintaining a stable international order requires them to react when all order within a state has broken down. Also when civil conflict and repression are so violent that civilians are threatened with massacre, genocide or ethnic cleansing on a large scale... viiThis emerging doctrine of the responsibility to protect was reflected in the UN’s High-LevelPanel Report on Threats, Challenges and Change, which called for a recognition of theinternational community’s legitimate right to intervene in internal conflicts to prevent the lossof life and further deterioration of the situation. Thus: …history teaches us all too clearly that it cannot be assumed that every state will always be able, or willing, to meet its responsibilities to protect its own people and avoid harming its neighbours. And in those circumstances, the principles of collective security mean that some portion of those responsibilities should be taken up by the international community...viiiAt the 2005 Millennium Review Summit at the United Nations, the proposal to enforce a clearframework for humanitarian intervention and a clear duty to act was highly controversial.ixAfter protracted negotiations, the declaration from the Millennium Review Summit did includespecific reference to this duty to act, stating that: ‘Each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity… The
  • 4. international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help states to exercise this responsibility.’xThe African Union (AU), having deliberated at length on the Report of the High-level Panel onThreats, Challenges and Change, adopted a Common African Position (known as “TheEzulwini Consensus”), stating that:‘ … It is important to reiterate the obligation of states to protect their citizens, but thisshould not be used as a pretext to undermine the sovereignty, independence andterritorial integrity of states.’xiAfrica has a mixed record on humanitarian intervention. Efforts to prevent the escalation ofnascent conflict, including crisis diplomacy and the imposition of sanctions, have often provedinadequate or ineffective. And once a crisis has escalated to the point of imminent or outrightdisaster, the impulse of many African states to provide troops to intervene to stop thesuffering has often been deflected by resort to the norm of ‘non-interference’.Recent efforts to move forward to a culture of ‘non-indifference’ in Africa have focused on thedevelopment of the various components of the African peace and security architecture. This isa difficult process for Africa, where the experiences of colonialism and subsequent weaknessof many states have made issues of sovereignty and non-interference particularly sensitive.The next section outlines continental and regional efforts to develop its peace and securitycapacity.3. Towards Africa’s Responsibility to ProtectThe African Union and the various sub-regional organisations have adopted an ambitiouspeace and security agenda and are establishing a bold new architecture designed to take thecontinent more proactive and effective in preventing and responding to serious crises bothwithin and between African states.3.1. The OAU principle of ‘non-interference’
  • 5. From its inception, and as stated in article 2 of its Charter, the OAU was guided by two mainprinciples: the ‘sovereign equality of all member states’ and ‘non-interference in the internalaffairs of member states’. Further more, the member -states agreed to maintain and respectinherited colonial borders.While these principles aimed to enhance stability in Africa and to deter superpoweradventurism, they also had a negative implications. Principles of non-interference wereexploited by many African leaders and their allies to bolster the position of elites against theconsequences of dissent among their populations. The OAU was often criticised as a ‘Headsof State club’ as it tended to focus more on protecting Africa’s leaders from its citizens ratherthe other way round.xii The organisation’s adherence to the cardinal principle of ‘non-interference in internal affairs’ led to a failure to act aggressively in the face of egregiousviolations within states, most famously in the cases of Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and theCentral African Republic.More progressive approaches to peace and security that have emerged since the end of theCold War and have sought to shift focus from protecting states’ security to protecting theircitizens (i.e. human security) continued to be resisted by the OAU under the guise of ’non–interference’. It developed conflict resolution mechanisms that privileged the use of soft powerand presented less of a threat to sovereignty, such as its Commission of Mediation,Conciliation and Arbitration in 1964 and subsequently the Conflict Prevention, Managementand Resolution Mechanism in 1993.xiiiBetween 1963 and 2002, the OAU was faced with many occurrences of border disputes,inter-state aggression or subversion, separatist movements, and in extreme cases, statecollapse. The OAU’s Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration lacked thecapacity and commitment to manage and resolve conflict and protect civilians. In general, thisstructure remained largely ineffective in protecting civilians and quelling conflicts in Africa.Where the organisation decided to act to defend member states’ sovereignty and territorialintegrity, civilian protection was seldom a priority. During the 1967-70 Civil War in Nigeria, theOAU created an ad hoc Consultative Committee that helped to prevent Biafras secession.When Portugal attempted the re-conquest of Guinea in 1970, the OAU rendered financial andmilitary aid to Guinea, declared war on mercenaries in Africa and waged a reasonablysuccessful information campaign that galvanised international opinion against the aggression.In Equatorial Guinea, OAU support enabled the young republic in 1977 to reinforce its newly-won independence.
  • 6. The magnitude of instability that continued to plague Africa and the political circumstances ofthe post-Cold War continent led to a re-evaluation of the mechanisms for conflict prevention,management and resolution, and – ultimately – the establishment of the African Union.3.2 The African Union and the ‘non-indifference’ principleThe AU, inaugurated to replace the OAU in 2001, was designed to explicitly confront both thecentral weaknesses of the OAU and the need for a reinvigorated African ‘ownership’ of thechallenges facing the continent. Importantly, the first objective of the Union is to ‘achievegreater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa’. Thisrecognition of the fundamental importance of peoples, rather than just states, in continentalaffairs is indicative of the drafters’ determination to replace the OAU’s ‘Heads of State Club’with an institution aimed at overcoming the challenges faced by people and theircommunities.Moreover, a major aspect of the AU is a new spirit of “non-indifference” towards massivecrimes against humanity and genocide in Africa, as opposed to a policy of non-interference.Collective security innovations of the AU Constitutive Act include: the establishment of aCommon African Security and Defence Policyxiv; affirmation of the right of the Union tointervene in a member state to restore peace and security in respect of grave circumstancessuch as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity xv; and respect for democraticprinciples, human rights, the rule of law and good governancexvi. Encouragingly, the new AUhas put in place a number of important mechanisms to support its bold new mandate toconfront the continent’s serious peace and security problems. These include a standingAfrican Peace and Security Council, an advisory ‘Panel of the Wise’ made up of eminentformer statespersons, a Continental Early Warning System, an African Standby Force toprovide for quick and effective ‘humanitarian intervention’ in extreme circumstances.The establishment of these new African means of preventing and responding to crises on thecontinent represent a bold step forward and offer the hope of a new era of collective Africanresponsibility to the most vulnerable. These provisions are a radical departure from the peaceand security arrangements of the OAU, and reflect an emerging recognition of the“responsibility to protect”, resulting in the transformation of the absolute right of statesovereignty that dominated the era of the OAU.xvii However, seasoned observers of Africanaffairs know that, on both fronts, the gap between rhetoric and action can often beoverwhelming.
  • 7. 3.3 The Ezulwini Consensus and the use of forceIn February 2005, 15 African foreign ministers gathered in Swaziland to forge an AfricanCommon Position on the UN reform. Having deliberated at length on the Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, they adopted “The Ezulwini Consensus”,which contains the following elements:Collective security and the challenge of prevention;Collective security and the use of force and;Institutional reform.On the legality of the use of force in order to protect civilians, the Ezulwini Consensusreiterates that it is important to comply scrupulously with the provisions of Article 51 of the UNCharter, which authorises the use of force only in cases of legitimate self-defence.Additionally, Article 4(h) of the AU Constitutive Act authorises intervention in gravecircumstances such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Consequently,any recourse to force outside the provisions of these treaties should be prohibited.However, since the General Assembly and the Security Council are often far from the scenesof conflicts and may not be in a position to accurately evaluate the nature of crisis situations, itis imperative that Regional Organisations are empowered to take action in certaincircumstances. The African Union agreed with the High- level Panel on Threats, Challengesand Change that the intervention of Regional Organisations should be done with the approvalof the UN Security Council; although in certain situations such approval could be granted“after the fact” where urgent action is required. In such cases, the UN should assumeresponsibility for financing such operations.xviiiIV. From Rwanda to Darfur: Lessons for Political Will to Protect Civilians in AfricaCivilians in Africa bear the heaviest brunt of acts of terror, civil wars, violent suppression ofpolitical opponents and criminal violence. The most heinous examples of the failure of civilianprotection in Africa were the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 resulted in the deaths of anestimated 800,000 people, mostly women and children,xix and the war in the DemocraticRepublic of Congo (DRC) between 1998 and 2003, resulted in one of the world’s worsthumanitarian crises, with over 3.4 million persons displaced from their homes and anestimated 4 million killed.xx Those are a tragic part of Africa’s contemporary history.
  • 8. 4.1. Darfur and political will in AfricaDespite African leaders’ pledge to never let another Rwanda happen again, they have notdemonstrated the will to exercise the African Union’s right to intervene to stem gross humanrights violations in either a concerted or consistent manner.In the Darfur conflict that started in 2003, estimates of numbers killed range from 180,000 to400,000. At least two million people have been forced to flee from their homes and aredisplaced in Sudan or in camps in neighbouring Chad.xxi Significantly, Rwanda was the firstAfrican country to deploy a protection force to Darfur as part of the AU mission. However, it isclear that the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) has – despite its best efforts – clearlynot been able to provide effective protection or prevent massive human rights abuses.AMIS’ role in Darfur has been a critical test case for the AU’s capacity and willingness toprotect civilians on the continent. Its mission has been an enormously difficult and complexone. AMIS has been tasked to monitor, as far as possible, the humanitarian ceasefireagreement of April 2004 and to report on violations; remain in touch with local authorities tobuild confidence and increase dialogue; monitor humanitarian convoys (these are oftenattacked); and establish police stations in various locations to reduce attacks. Despite somelimited achievements, AMIS has largely been unable to provide effective protection to most ofthe population of Darfur.xxiiEffective civilian protection is also hampered by a lack of will to implement and comply withexisting standards and principles. For instance, despite the AU being the only internationalorganisation that has given itself the right to intervene for human protection purposes,xxiii it isincreasingly becoming clear that its good intentions need the political will to see them through.Unfortunately, the on-going crisis in Darfur has shown that few African countries can becounted upon to answer calls for civilian assistance.Political will for intervention is a major concern for the protection of civilians especially inAfrica. General Romeo Dallaire, UN force commander during the Rwandan genocide, hasrecently argued that “Darfur, is a ‘perfect example’ of a ‘lack of political will’ to prevent crisesdeveloping”.xxiv Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has observed that “everybody islooking to see if world leaders will make good on their World Summit pledge last Septemberto protect vulnerable communities…. A certain political will is required for action - and I don’tthink we have the kind of political will that is required to drive things home… African leaders…will have to work collectively with the Sudanese government to convince them that it is in theirinterest to cooperate with the international community."xxv4.2. Darfur and international political will
  • 9. Political will to resolve African crises is lacking more generally at the international level. Arecent report from Action Africa argues that in 1994, the Clinton Administration refused toname the unfolding genocide in Rwanda and failed to act decisively to stop it. It blockedinternational intervention in Rwanda, claiming that there was neither domestic constituencynor compelling foreign policy interest to support U.S. action.xxviIn Darfur, the Bush Administration is the first government to have publicly acknowledged thatwhat is happening constitutes genocide. There is controversy on this notion of genocide inDarfur and one could support the position of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo of theFederal Republic of Nigeria, who noted, there is little doubt that, despite the hair-splitting ofthe proper description of the unfolding tragedy, there is a developing genocide in Darfur.xxviiYet although the U.S. has contributed diplomatically and financially to the peace process inSudan, it has not implemented a comprehensive strategy to protect the people of Darfur fromthe ongoing crise.The Action Africa report concludes that despite some key differences in the domestic andinternational dynamics today compared to twelve years ago during the Rwandan genocide,the U.S. response on Darfur reveals that important lessons remain unlearned. The U.S. is themost powerful country in the world, with an unmatched capacity to respond to crises and tomobilize a broader international response. If the U.S. were to do everything it could to stopgenocide, it is certain that it would succeed in doing so. However, in the realm of U.S. foreignpolicy priorities, Africa is most often absent or marginalised, and the human cost of thismyopia is most clear in the death toll of these two genocides.xxviiiIn Rwanda in 1994, the Clinton Administration was more focused on the crisis in the formerYugoslavia, and was still reeling from the disastrous intervention in Somalia the previousyear. In Darfur at present, the U.S. is focused more on the crisis in the Middle East, on thewar in Iraq and on the so-called “War on Terrorism”, which are estimated to be more pressingpolicy priorities than genocide in Africa.xxix It is hard to imagine another part of the world wherekillings would be left to continue, and where the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives wouldbe tolerated.To sum up, one could say that the failure of the international community to intervene in the1994 Rwandan genocide provided many lessons for the AU’s current mission in Sudan. TheAU’s intervention in Darfur has revealed the limitations in the current peace and securitystructures both at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and on the ground. While theAU’s deployment of a force in the region demonstrates a strong commitment to the protectionof citizens across borders, logistical problems as well as the lack of political will to challenge
  • 10. the government in Khartoum make the situation stark. This highlights the need to strengthencontinental capacity in such scenarios and call for the international community to interveneeffectively in conflict situations in Africa.xxxV. Lessons from the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in garnering the politicalwill to protect civiliansCreated primarily to forge regional economic partnerships, RECs have, over time, embracedpeace and security mandates and developed mechanisms for conflict prevention,management and resolution These mechanisms form part of the overall security architectureof the AU, and are tasked with adapting continental visions and policies to their regions, andproviding guidelines for implementation of various activities by national governments. Africa’ssub-regional organisations such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC),the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community ofCentral African States (ECCAS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) andthe Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), are often touted as the pillars of development, yet realdevelopment and stability remain elusive.Increasingly, both the UN and the AU are looking to regional organisations as the initialrespondents in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts occurring in their backyards.Among the comparative advantages of regional organisations is their ability to intervene insituations where there are political constraints to UN action; their speed of response; flexibilityor improvisation; and their familiarity with issues on the ground.Examples of African regional intervention include IGAD has been central in the negotiationsthat sought settlement of two of the most delicate peace agreements on the continent, namelythe Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM,and the agreement that led to the formation of the Somali Transitional Federal Government inKenya, both in 2005. Meanwhile, ECOWAS has been involved in numerous complexpeacekeeping missions, such as the ECOMIL operation in Liberia in 2003. The collaborationwith the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) helped torestore peace in Liberia and protect civilians. This is a model of cooperation that couldusefully be applied to other situationsYet in other circumstances where forced intervention has occurred, results have been mixed.The capacity of African regional organisations to conduct peacekeeping missions issubstantially affected by the political and social environment of the region. For instance, theweakness of ECCAS is reflective of the instability in the Central African region and the lack ofa strong state that can chaperone the peace and security agenda. SADC’s ability to act in
  • 11. concert is hampered by distrust and lack of a common normative framework for dealing withsecurity issues in Southern Africa. And in the Horn of Africa, IGAD is a cautious andfrequently paralysed regional organisation.If the RECs are to play their role as the building blocks for the AU Peace and Securityarchitecture, their capacity must be developed and sustained. Increased training opportunitiesare necessary to meet the enormous demand for peacebuilding that is being placed on theseorganisations. There is also a need for stronger ties and better information-sharing betweenthe AU, UN and RECs in addition to enhanced co–operation between RECs themselves.However, one should not draw the conclusion that such responsibilities can henceforth bedelegated solely to regional organisations, either in Africa or elsewhere. Regionalorganisations can face political, structural, financial or planning limitations. At times theimpartiality or neutrality of their member states might not be assured, for a variety of historical,political or economic reasons. Furthermore, the AU and the RECs can only be as efficient andeffective as the states that comprise them. Therefore, the political will for intervention mustfirst be generated in states themselves.VI. Challenges for Responsibility to Protect in Africa6.1. States ‘interests’ as barrier for intervention in AfricaOne might conclude from the evidence above that states prefer not to intervene unless thereare compelling reasons for doing so. Experience shows that states will not usually interveneagainst allies, friendly governments, major powers, or states within major powers’ immediatesphere of influence, however badly their governments may behave. The situation in Darfur isillustrative of this fact. Aaron Tesfaye notes that Sudan has so far rejected the UN resolutionauthorising the replacement of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) by a stronger UN force.Pointing out that Khartoum has been able to block this development because it has powerfulallies on the UN Security Council, namely China and Russia.xxxi There are economic andpolitical reasons behind Russian and Chinese support of Sudanese sovereignty. Russia is amajor arms supplier for Sudan and therefore lacks incentive to assist in resolving the Darfurcrisis.xxxii Meanwhile, China’s demand for natural resources and extensive investment inSudan’s oil industry has prevented it from taking a firmer stance on the conflict.It seems that the unwillingness of states to intervene on other states’ territories is connectedto governments’ political uncertainty about actions that do not directly serve their nationalinterests.xxxiii This reluctance is all the greater when the crisis is taking place in an area that is
  • 12. geographically remote or of little interest to the media. Conversely, it seems that the closerthe crisis is to home, the greater the pressure to intervene. This was a key reason for NATOsinvolvement in Kosovo. The effects of such crises are clearly visible and may, moreover,undermine regional security. Such considerations almost inevitably result in a selectivenesswhich in itself is difficult to reconcile with the collective responsibility to protect endangeredcivilians.6.2. The question of State sovereigntyLike President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, many Africans believe that the principles of“responsibility to protect” and “use of force” pose potential threats to the sovereignindependence and security of less powerful African states. This is regrettable in a periodwhere the entire community is looking for ways to prevent further human rights abuses inAfrica. Pillay suggests that “the protection of human rights of all people is unquestionable, butthere has to be a clearer, more sensitive and careful articulation of a collective responsibilityto protect. Unless this principle is open to debate and negotiation, African and otherdeveloping states, will likely perceive the idea of collective security as an instrument ofcoercion and intervention, rather than of global co-operation".xxxivThe deteriorating situation in Darfur demonstrates how urgent it is for African leaders andcommunities to resolve this debate over semantics and to reach a consensus on when adefence of state sovereignty is patently unacceptable. From the outset, the AU’s involvementin Darfur was conditional upon receiving consent from Khartoum. Surely this is not the “lastresort” type of intervention that is envisioned in the ICISS report and the AU’s ConstitutiveAct.xxxv How can intervention be subject to the consent of a state which is incapable ofprotecting its own citizens, or is committing human rights abuses itself? This example ofconditional intervention is illustrative of the lack of political will to implement the Responsibilityto Protect principles.The situation in Zimbabwe is another case of a state oppressing its own people but hidingbehind the shield of sovereignty. According to the ICISS report, sovereignty is responsibility.This implies that the primary duty of the state is to ensure the well-being and safety of allpeople under its jurisdiction.xxxvi This includes taking into account their actions towards theirown citizens and towards the rest of the world. These responsibilities are clearly not beingfulfilled in countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe.VII. The way forward
  • 13. Despite the collective shame and regret expressed over the genocide in Rwanda, grossviolations of human rights, and mass killings continue. It is a failure of governments,international organisations and the UN Security Council to generate the necessary politicalwill to protect the world’s citizens.In Africa, the development of law, norms and political mechanisms to allow collectiveintervention in crisis situations is of little more than academic value if it is not accompanied bya strengthening of the practical means of carrying out such interventions. In certain cases,this ‘capacity gap’ is one of the most significant challenge facing the implementation of the“responsibility to protect” in Africa. That is true as there is a link between the political will tointervene and capacity to deploy. It is notable that having a more robust, at-the-ready capacityto intervene would affect the political equation by removing the lack-of-capacity obstacle andexcuse, thereby unambiguously testing political will: whether member states would still say“no” in the face of a humanitarian disaster.The AU should, in the name of non-indifference, make efficient use of its Peace and SecurityCouncil (PSC) to interfere in the internal affairs of member states in the event of an imminentthreat to peace, security and stability. As Musifiky Mwanasali has observed, the AU’s 15-member PSC is legally empowered to implement the “responsibility to protect” in Africa. TheProtocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the AfricanUnionxxxvii confers to the PSC with “the authority to use its discretion to intervene” or “entryinto” and “take appropriate action to address potential or actual conflict situations”. xxxviii This isan unambiguous legal framework with which to operationalise the “responsibility to protect” inAfrica. Yet in both Rwanda and Darfur several African states were willing to deploy men andmaterial, but most lacked the military capability to be fully effective and the financial andlogistical wherewithal to sustain their forces for the long term. To strengthen African statesengaged in humanitarian interventions, more thought must be given to the challenge ofdeveloping regional capacities to act.VIII. ConclusionOn a continent where gross human rights abuses and violence are rampant, it is more criticalthan ever to protect civilians. African conflicts not only kill more civilians than soldiers but alsodeliberately target civilians and use children as combatants. With sufficient political will - onthe part of Africa and on the part of the international community – to protect civilians in Africacan be enhanced. Governments must not wait to act until images of death and destruction areshown on TV screens. With political will, rhetoric can be transformed into reality. Without it,not even the noblest sentiments will have a chance of success. Political will is also neededfrom the international community. Whenever the international community is committed tomaking a difference, it has proved that significant and rapid transformation can be achieved.
  • 14. Yet significant progress will require sustained international attention at the highest politicallevels over a period of years.The responses to protect civilians would immensely benefit from Vaclev Havel’s sagaciouswords, “we live in a new world, in which all of us must begin to bear responsibility foreverything that occurs.”xxxix This means that civilian protection is not just a responsibility of thegovernment, armed forces, and other security apparatus but rather a collective and sharedresponsibility of the state, civil society groups and the international community. Besides astrong commitment, effective protection of civilian requires resources. Over time, civilianprotection must not only become a norm but also a practice. Its success as a norm will rightlybe judged on whether it has reduced the vulnerability of civilian populations to armed conflict,and on the extent to which human rights and humanitarian obligations are observed andenforced. Successful implementation of protection strategies requires the development of acomprehensive and holistic approach to security combined with the necessary political will.i Expressed in the United Nation Resolution A/60/L.1 referred to as the 2005 World Summit Document (or,simply, the Outcome Document)ii African Union (2002), Consitutive Act of the African Union, Article 4(h)iii 2005 World Summit Excerpts on Responsibility to Protect, at : www.reformtheun.orgiv Idemv Cases where states lack the political will to intervene such as in Rwandavi Cases where the Security Council is deadlocked in the face of a humanitarian crises: Kosovovii International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect, Ottawa,Canada: IDRC, 2001, para. 4.13.viii Report of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, A More SecureWorld: Our shared Responsibility, New York: United Nations, 2004.
  • 15. ix The Economist, ‘The United Nations – Can its creditability be repaired?’, 8 September 2005.x United Nations, ‘Declaration of World Summit’, New York: United Nations, 2005, para 138.xi African Union, The Common African Position on the Proposed Reform of the United Nations: The EzulwiniConsensus, Seventh Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council, Ext/EC.CL/2 (VII), Addis Ababa: AfricanUnion, 7 and 8 March 2005, p.6xii See Ben Kioko, “ The right of intervention under the African Union’s Constitutive Act: From non-interferenceto non-intervention” in International Review of the Red Cross (IRRC), December 2003, Vol. 85 No 852, p. 810xiii Rachel Murray, Human Rights in Africa: From the OAU to the African Union, (Cambridge University Press,2004).xiv Article 4 d of the AU Constitutive Actxv Articles 4 j and 4 h of the AU Constitutive Actxvi Article 4 m of the AU Constitutive Actxvii See Musifiky Mwanasali, “The AU and the Responsibility to Protect”, paper presented at the Centre forConflict Resolution (CCR) policy seminar, Building an African Union (AU) for the 21st Century: Relations withRegional Economic Communities (RECs), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and CivilSociety, Cape Town, South Africa, 20-22 August 2005.xviii The Ezulwini Consensus, p.6xix See Mugwanya,G. “Introduction to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)” in Heyns, Ch. (ed)1 Human Rights Law in Africa (2004) Leiden: Nijhoff 60; See also: PBS, Frontline, “The Triumph of Evil: 100Days of Slaughter”
  • 16. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/evil/etc/slaughter.htmlxx A report from the International Rescue Committee found that 3.5 million people had died in the DRC since1998 from direct and direct violence, making this the most deadly war in the world in terms of a civilian death tollsince the World War II. See International Rescue Committee “Mortality in the DRC: Results from a NationwideSurvey”, April 2003. See also Joseph Yav Katshung, “Prosecution of Grave Violations of Human Rights in Lightof Challenges of National Courts and the International Criminal Court: The Congolese Dilemma” in HumanRights Review (Transaction Periodicals Consortium, Rutgers, the State University of new Jersey), Volume 7,Number 3, April-June 2006, p. 6xxi Although, the Africa Action report estimates that some 500,000 lives have already been lost in Darfur. See,Ann-Louise Colgan: "A Tale of Two Genocides: The FailedU.S. Response to Rwanda and Darfur", Africa Action Report release on 9 September 2006, available fordownload at http://www.africaaction.org/xxii Stephen Baranyi and David Mepham, Report from a high-level symposium on “Enhancing Capacities toProtect Civilians and Build Sustainable Peace in Africa”, Addis Ababa, 16 March 2006, p.10xxiii The norms underpinning the AU’s emerging peace and security agenda draw on elements of a protectionframework as articulated in the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS)document The Responsibility to Protect. The AU, like The Responsibility to Protect, clearly lays out provisions forintervention in the internal affairs of a member state through military force, if necessary, to protect vulnerablepopulations from egregious human rights abuses… See, Kristiana Powell, The African Union’s Emerging Peaceand Security Regime: Opportunities and Challenges for Delivering on the Responsibility to Protect, ISSMonograph series, Number 119, May 2005, p.1xxiv Quoted in Business Day (Johannesburg), 25 February 2005. xxv See “Annan decries lack of political will on Darfur”, Sudan Tribune, 01 July 2006.xxvi Ann-Louise Colgan: "A Tale of Two Genocides: The FailedU.S. Response to Rwanda and Darfur", Africa Action Report release on 9 September 2006, available fordownload at http://www.africaaction.org/xxvii Agence France Presse (AFP), Nigerias president says genocide developing in Darfur, at:www.afp/20061010/wl_afp/sudandarfurnigeria (Accessed on 10 October 2007)
  • 17. xxviii Ann-Louise Colgan, op.cit. p. 9xxix Ibid. p. 9xxx Adebajo, A. & Scanlon, H (eds.): A Dialogue of the Deaf: Essays on Africa and the United Nations (Fanele,South Africa, 2006, p. 278)xxxi Eric Reeves, "China in Sudan: Underwriting Genocide" Testimony by Eric Reeves before the US-ChinaEconomic and Security Review Commission: "Chinas Role in the World: Is China a Responsible Stakeholder?"Aug 3, 2006xxxii See Amnesty International, "Sudan: Arming the Perpetrators of Grave Abuses in Darfur," Nov. 16, 2004.xxxiiiFreedman, L., ‘The Changing Forms of Military Conflict’, in: Survival, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Winter 1998-1999), p. 41xxxiv See, Vaneshri Pillay, Reflections on the UN Secretary-General’s Reform Report and its Implications forAfrica’s Peace & Security Agenda (PDF Document)xxxv See, Kristiana Powell, The African Union’s Emerging Peace and Security Regime: Opportunities andChallenges for Delivering on the Responsibility to Protect, ISS Monograph series, Number 119, May, 2005, p.4xxxvi ICISS report, op.cit. p. 12-13xxxvii AU Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, 1stOrdinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State, Durban, South Africa, 9 July 2002.xxxviii Musifiky Mwanasali, “The AU and the Responsibility to Protect”, op.cit.
  • 18. xxxix Memorable Quotes and quotations from Vaclev Havel, at http://www.memorable-quotes.com/vaclev+havel,a2181.html (Accessed on 15 August 2007)1

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