Institutional evolution in Africa and the ‘peacekeeping institution’
Date: 1 August 2015
Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peacekeeping has been the primary instrument of the United Nations (UN) in the pursuit of its objective to maintain international peace and security. It has evolved through the practice of UN organs, primarily the UN Security Council but also the UN General Assembly, in response to imperative security concerns of the time. This practice ...
Peacekeeping has been the primary instrument of the United Nations (UN) in the pursuit of its objective to maintain international peace and security. It has evolved through the practice of UN organs, primarily the UN Security Council but also the UN General Assembly, in response to imperative security concerns of the time. This practice of peacekeeping operations has generated a set of doctrines such as consent, neutrality/impartiality and non-use of force except for self-defence, which, one may argue, has resulted in the emergence of a ‘peacekeeping institution’. Indeed, peace-keeping practices have been adopted by regional institutions, including the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), South African Development Community (SADC), Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), and more recently the African Union (AU). Particularly in Africa, peacekeeping practices can arguably be seen as instrumental to compensatory institutional evolution, which has arisen from the lack of institutional competence in situations where security concerns require institutional responses. However, characterising peacekeeping as an ‘institution’ rather than a practice does not suggest that an international or regional institution can deploy peacekeeping operations as it sees necessary without having regard to its own institutional competence and procedures. It is an established principle of international institutional law that the competence of international institutions is not unlimited but is restricted by the provisions of the constitutive instrument, in terms both of form and substance. Yet, institutions are not mere instruments of the creators, but are autonomous entities operating, to varying degrees, within an institutional structure and regularised decision-making processes. This chapter examines the interaction between the development of peacekeeping as an ‘institution’ and the evolution of institutional competence by international organisations, with a particular focus on how African institutions developed their peacekeeping practices in the 1990s to early 2000s as case studies. To this end, section 2 reviews the early development of peacekeeping practices within the UN, highlighting the controversy over its legality in light of the UN’ institutional competence.
College of Social Sciences and International Studies
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