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Dealing with unconstitutional changes of government - The African Union Way

Förander, Karin (2010) JURM01 20101
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Ickekonstitutionella regeringsförändringar har varit ett stort problem i Afrika sen avkoloniseringen och militärkupper har varit en minst lika vanlig form av regeringsbyte som demokratiska val. Afrikanska unionen (AU) har sen den bildades 2001 utvecklat den afrikanska internationella rätten för att kunna hantera dessa situationer. AU:s föregångare Organisationen för afrikansk enighet (OAU) hade inställningen att ickekonstitutionella regeringsförändringar i allmänhet var att betrakta som en nationell angelägenhet och hade således inga regler som tillät åtgärder för att bemöta dem. AU däremot, har under senare tid utvecklat ett relativt omfattande regelverk för respons vid icke-konstitutionella regeringsförändringar. Detta är ett mycket... (More)
Ickekonstitutionella regeringsförändringar har varit ett stort problem i Afrika sen avkoloniseringen och militärkupper har varit en minst lika vanlig form av regeringsbyte som demokratiska val. Afrikanska unionen (AU) har sen den bildades 2001 utvecklat den afrikanska internationella rätten för att kunna hantera dessa situationer. AU:s föregångare Organisationen för afrikansk enighet (OAU) hade inställningen att ickekonstitutionella regeringsförändringar i allmänhet var att betrakta som en nationell angelägenhet och hade således inga regler som tillät åtgärder för att bemöta dem. AU däremot, har under senare tid utvecklat ett relativt omfattande regelverk för respons vid icke-konstitutionella regeringsförändringar. Detta är ett mycket viktigt steg mot att öka rättssäkerheten och inflytandet av internationell rätt i Afrika. Detta inkluderar först och främst en definition av vad en ickekonstitutionell regeringsförändring är enligt AU men också föreskrifter för med vilka medel dessa ska behandlas, vilka organ som är inblandade i beslutsfattande, verkställande och utvärdering.

De åtgärder som är mest långtgående i AU:s åtgärdspaket är riktade sanktioner av olika slag. Dessa är sista steget i en process som startar med fördömelse av den ickekonstitutionella regeringsförändringen, utestängning från unionens möten och medling/förhandling med kuppmakarna för att återställa konstitutionsenlig ordning. Sanktioner som den mest ingripande och folkrättsligt kontroversiella åtgärden har getts extra fokus i denna uppsats vilken syftar till att inventera den internationella rätt som utvecklats inom AU. Vidare ska också de brister som fortfarande finns i AU rätten för att den ska bli framgångsrik som regelverk för ökad rättssäkerhet och åtlydnad av internationell rätt undersökas.

AU är en oerhört viktig aktör för att främja demokrati i Afrikanska stater och AU:s regelverk för att implementera sanktioner mot ledare som bryter demokratiska principer är mycket hoppingivande för framtiden. Samtidigt finns stora brister både i utformningen av detta regelverk och i verkställandet. Bristerna är bland annat en för smal definition av ickekonstitutionella regeringsförändringar, sanktionsföreskrifter som ej är tvingande utan till stor del tillåter den politiska viljan avgöra huruvida sanktioner ska implementeras eller inte. AU som organisation har också brister som leder till en för låg effektivitet i arbetet mot ökad demokrati och stabilitet på kontinenten. Detta beror till stor del på bristen på verkställande och övervakande mekanismer inom unionen, vilket till exempel en unionsdomstol skulle kunna råda bot på. Positiva tendenser i unionens utformning av ett juridiskt ramverk är dock tydliga och med tanke på att Afrikanska Unionen har kommit från i princip ingenstans till dit den är idag på inte ens tio år är utvecklingen imponerande och mycket hoppingivande inför ett rättssäkrare Afrika i framtiden. (Less)
Abstract
Unconstitutional changes of government has been a major problem in Africa since decolonization with military coups being a more common way of changing government than democratic elections. The African Union (AU) was established in 2001 and has since then provided a significant development of the African law, not the least in the branch of law covering the AU response to unconstitutional changes of government (UCG). The AU predecessor Organization of African Unity (OAU) had the general policy that unconstitutional changes of government were to be considered a national concern. Consequently the OAU did not have any provisions allowing measures to be taken against them. Since the establishment of the AU the organization has developed an... (More)
Unconstitutional changes of government has been a major problem in Africa since decolonization with military coups being a more common way of changing government than democratic elections. The African Union (AU) was established in 2001 and has since then provided a significant development of the African law, not the least in the branch of law covering the AU response to unconstitutional changes of government (UCG). The AU predecessor Organization of African Unity (OAU) had the general policy that unconstitutional changes of government were to be considered a national concern. Consequently the OAU did not have any provisions allowing measures to be taken against them. Since the establishment of the AU the organization has developed an extensive legal framework for response to unconstitutional changes of government, which is a very important development towards giving the rule of law and the compliance with international law a greater impact in Africa. This includes first and foremost a definition of what an unconstitutional change of government is according to the AU. Secondly the provisions governing the measures to be used against the unconstitutional changes of government are an important part in this framework. The third part of the AU response to unconstitutional changes of government is the decision making structure and the division of legislating, implementing and executive power between the Union organs.

The furthest reaching measures in the AU framework for such responses are targeted sanctions. The policy of adopting targeted sanctions are the last step in a process starting with condemnation of the unconstitutional change of government, suspension from the meetings of the union and mediation/negotiation efforts to get the coup makers to restore constitutional order. Sanctions as the most interfering and legally controversial measure of these has a special focus in this thesis which aims at taking stock of the development of international law that has taken place within the African Union. Another research question is what shortcomings the AU law has in the respect of being a successful framework for rule of law and compliance with international law.

The African Union is a very important actor for promoting democracy on the African continent and the existing regime for imposing sanctions against those breaking the democratic principles holds a lot of hope for the future. At the same time both the design of this regime and the implementation of it have defects. Theses are for instance a too narrow definition of an unconstitutional change of government leaving out type two unconstitutional changes of government from the main framework of response and that the provisions for imposing sanctions, especially on type two UCGs, not are forcing but allows the political will to decide whether or not sanctions should be implemented or not. The organizational structure of the AU also has its defects causing a low efficiency in the work towards increased democracy and stability on the continent. This is to a large extent due to a lack of implementation and monitoring mechanism, such as an efficient union court. Positive legal development can though be seen, for example the AU in February 2010 decided not to allow coup makers to stand in elections to restore constitutional order anymore. Given the modest starting point of the union, what it has achieved in ten years is very impressive and promising for a future Africa more in harmony with international law. (Less)
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author
Förander, Karin
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20101
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Folkrätt
language
English
id
1628234
date added to LUP
2010-07-15 14:02:25
date last changed
2010-07-15 14:02:25
@misc{1628234,
  abstract     = {Unconstitutional changes of government has been a major problem in Africa since decolonization with military coups being a more common way of changing government than democratic elections. The African Union (AU) was established in 2001 and has since then provided a significant development of the African law, not the least in the branch of law covering the AU response to unconstitutional changes of government (UCG). The AU predecessor Organization of African Unity (OAU) had the general policy that unconstitutional changes of government were to be considered a national concern. Consequently the OAU did not have any provisions allowing measures to be taken against them. Since the establishment of the AU the organization has developed an extensive legal framework for response to unconstitutional changes of government, which is a very important development towards giving the rule of law and the compliance with international law a greater impact in Africa. This includes first and foremost a definition of what an unconstitutional change of government is according to the AU. Secondly the provisions governing the measures to be used against the unconstitutional changes of government are an important part in this framework. The third part of the AU response to unconstitutional changes of government is the decision making structure and the division of legislating, implementing and executive power between the Union organs. 

The furthest reaching measures in the AU framework for such responses are targeted sanctions. The policy of adopting targeted sanctions are the last step in a process starting with condemnation of the unconstitutional change of government, suspension from the meetings of the union and mediation/negotiation efforts to get the coup makers to restore constitutional order. Sanctions as the most interfering and legally controversial measure of these has a special focus in this thesis which aims at taking stock of the development of international law that has taken place within the African Union. Another research question is what shortcomings the AU law has in the respect of being a successful framework for rule of law and compliance with international law. 

The African Union is a very important actor for promoting democracy on the African continent and the existing regime for imposing sanctions against those breaking the democratic principles holds a lot of hope for the future. At the same time both the design of this regime and the implementation of it have defects. Theses are for instance a too narrow definition of an unconstitutional change of government leaving out type two unconstitutional changes of government from the main framework of response and that the provisions for imposing sanctions, especially on type two UCGs, not are forcing but allows the political will to decide whether or not sanctions should be implemented or not. The organizational structure of the AU also has its defects causing a low efficiency in the work towards increased democracy and stability on the continent. This is to a large extent due to a lack of implementation and monitoring mechanism, such as an efficient union court. Positive legal development can though be seen, for example the AU in February 2010 decided not to allow coup makers to stand in elections to restore constitutional order anymore. Given the modest starting point of the union, what it has achieved in ten years is very impressive and promising for a future Africa more in harmony with international law.},
  author       = {Förander, Karin},
  keyword      = {Folkrätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Dealing with unconstitutional changes of government - The African Union Way},
  year         = {2010},
}