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Regional norms from the Organization of African Unity to the African Union
Author: Kathryn Nash

African regional organizations have played leading roles in constructing collective conflict management rules for the continent, but these rules or norms have not been static. Currently, the African Union (AU) deploys monitors, authorizes peace support operations, and actively engages in internal conflicts in member states. Just a few decades ago these actions would have been deeply controversial under the Organization of African Unity (OAU). What changed to allow for this transformation in the way the African regional organization approaches peace and security? Drawing extensively on primary source documents from the AU Commission archives, this book examines why the OAU chose norms that prioritized state security in 1963 leading to a policy of strict non-interference and why the AU chose very different norms leading to a disparate conflict management policy of non-indifference in the early 2000s. Even if the AU’s capacity to respond to conflict is still developing, this new policy has made the region more willing and capable of responding to violent conflict. The author argues that norm creation largely happened within the African context, and international pressure was not a determinant factor. The role of regional organizations in the international order, particularly those in the African region, has been under-theorized and under-acknowledged, and this book adds to an emerging literature that explores the role of regional organizations in the Global South in creating and promoting norms based on their own experiences and for their own purposes.

A Military Tactic or Collateral Damage?
Abdulkarim Ekzayez and Ammar Sabouni

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was seen as responsible for safeguarding medical neutrality, which is the concept of non-interference in medical services in conflict situations, built around IHL, human rights law and medical ethics. This role was most apparent and effective post-Second World War and up to the late 1990s ( Druce et al. , 2019 ). Over the past three decades, however, the increase in interstate and internationalised wars has led to longer, more complicated wars with more long-term effects and an erosion of the protection of healthcare that has

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps, Lasse Heerten, Arua Oko Omaka, Kevin O'Sullivan, and Bertrand Taithe

United Nations sometimes defined the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs – and it was echoed by the non-interventionist stance adopted by the Organisation of African Unity [ Barnett, 2011 : 138–42; Loescher, 2001 : 146–7]. The second dynamic is geopolitical. British, Soviet and Israeli interests in the region, and the material and diplomatic support that accompanied them, were important in how the conflict was conducted [ Levey, 2014

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Kathryn Nash

The OAU’s priorities were illustrated not only by the Charter but also by the institutions that were established and more importantly adequately funded and supported. Similarly, the OAU’s response to conflicts was a further reflection of the norms chosen by the OAU and the priorities of the organization. The non-interference conflict management policy became firmly established, and the focus of the OAU’s work to address conflict on the continent was appealing to the parties of the conflict to find a peaceful solution and to keep major powers out of African

in African peace
Abstract only
Kathryn Nash

to our understanding of norm creation within the specific spaces of regional organizations. As such, it has implications both for the role that regional organizations play in shaping norms in their own spheres and also the role they play in shaping and promoting international norms. Specifically, I ask why the OAU chose norms in 1963 that underpinned a non-interference conflict management policy and why the AU chose very different norms in the early 2000s that led to a non-indifference conflict management policy. I argue that African regional organizations

in African peace
Geoffrey Hicks

linked with that office, the source is most unlikely to have been Stanley or any influential Protectionist.70 The Home Office was the job on offer to him.71 Nevertheless, if Disraeli was concerned about public perceptions of the Conservatives, it was understandable. There was clearly a strand of broadly ‘liberal’ opinion that was distinctly uneasy about Conservative principles being employed in foreign policy. Conservative non-interference and a desire for good relations with other powers was easily interpreted as de facto support for the domestic status quo in foreign

in Peace, war and party politics
Kathryn Nash

One of the major critiques of the AU is that the shift in peace and security from non-interference under the OAU to non-indifference under the AU is purely cosmetic, and the results show no tangible difference in outcomes. This chapter spells out the extent of the change in norms, institutions, policies, and practices between the OAU and the AU to first show that there is a real difference between the two organizations. It sets a baseline of the OAU and AU norms, institutions, and policies and then explores how these played out in practice. I am not making an

in African peace
The ICTY, ICTR and ICC
Matt Killingsworth

) challenges historically established norms regarding the way that states use force, constraints on the use of violence are best understood through ‘pluralist’ interpretations of the sovereign right to use force and the sovereign right of non-interference. Thus, while it is clear that new mechanisms of justice have increased the efficacy of IHL, the state remains the primary arbiter with regards to punishing

in Violence and the state
Abstract only
Kathryn Nash

The 1970s and 1980s were a period of turmoil and then change for the OAU. Several atrocities in the 1970s, notably the brutality of Jean-Bédel Bokassa and Idi Amin, would shock the continent and push the OAU to further re-evaluate its sole focus on state security. These events were coupled with continuing advocacy from African elites, who argued that the OAU’s tolerance for internal conflict and atrocities in the name of strict non-interference were contrary to pan-Africanist ideals and damaging to the security and interests of the region. The events of the

in African peace
Kathryn Nash

effective when done between member states as the prevailing regional norms discouraged interference in internal conflicts and prioritized state security and territorial integrity. Internal OAU documents acknowledge the weaknesses of the organization in preventing and managing conflicts, particularly intra-state conflicts. 1 The OAU’s capacity to effectively manage and resolve conflicts was hampered by the limitations of its mandate, stunted conflict management institutions, and lack of capacity and funding. The OAU Charter mandated non-interference and respect for

in African peace