The African Union

A partner for security

Authored by: Malte Brosig


Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415588287
eBook ISBN: 9780203098417
Adobe ISBN: 9781136226953


 Download Chapter



For decades the African continent has been a conflict-ridden region in which African organizations did relatively little to settle conflicts and sanction war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide effectively. Indeed it has been argued that membership in the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was primarily a means to ensure international legitimacy by often domestically challenged African leaders (Herbst, 2007). The OAU as an organization with a relatively low degree of institutionalization and weak secretariat could not throughout its existence from 1963 to 2002 develop a meaningful security strategy capable of solving African conflicts. The OAU’s coming into being was shaped by ideas of pan-Africanism, anti-colonialism and the attempt to consolidate national borders, often disputed as a result of arbitrary border-drawing during colonialism. Consequently non-intervention in domestic affairs became a core principle of the OAU in a move to prevent external intrusion in young and often politically unstable African states. This, however, led to the often criticized culture of impunity in which domestic human rights violations and ethnic conflicts were not perceived as international issues of urgency. Notorious dictators such as Idi Amin were not punished or sanctioned by the OAU. Only in a small number of cases (Congo, Nigeria, Chad and Sudan) was the OAU engaged in conflict prevention and peace negotiations (Walraven, 2010: 45–7).

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.