Partnering to make peace: The effect of joint African and non-African mediation efforts’

This article systematically examines the varying effectiveness of African and non-African third parties in mediating civil wars in Africa. Drawing on data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, supplemented with unique data on mediation efforts, which together cover all mediation efforts in civil wars in Africa between 1960 and 2012, this article presents quantitative evidence supporting the effectiveness of African third parties. Compared to non-African third parties, African third parties are far more likely to conclude peace agreements and these peace agreements are more likely to be durable. Most effective, however, are mixed mediation efforts in which there is coordination between African and non-African third parties, but in which African third parties take the lead. The phrase, ‘African solutions to African challenges’ should thus be understood as a division of labour and responsibilities, rather than an excuse for non-African third parties to ignore Africa’s problems or African third parties acting on their own.

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Modern post-conflict security sector reform in Africa: patterns of success and failure

Promoting security sector reform (SSR) in countries emerging from war is one of the critical missions that the African Union (AU) – following the path laid out by the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, and others – has increasingly assumed in recent years. However, despite two decades of implementation experience, as of 2016 there has been no increase in the tiny number of post-conflict SSR efforts generally considered successful. In another field of endeavour, the approach might have been discarded as unworkable in practice. However, in the absence of any alternative path to the same critical ends, i.e. stable, self-governing states in which citizens enjoy basic security and justice services, do not export security problems (refugees, militants, drug-traffickers, etc.), and do not require continual aid and periodic intervention, SSR remains indispensable.

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To Intervene or Not to Intervene: An inside view of the AU’s decision-making on Article 4(h) and Burundi

The engagement of the AU Presidential delegation belies the negative reading of the AU’s decision at its January summit not to authorize military intervention against Burundi’s wishes. Decried as a crass example of allowing ‘sovereignty’ to trump human rights concerns, the decision warrants revisiting in light of the AUs continued efforts to support political engagement. This is precisely the goal of our new occasional paper by Solomon Derrso, “To Intervene or Not to Intervene: An inside view of the AU’s decision-making on Article 4(h) and Burundi.” The insights apply not only to Burundi today, but also to how the AU may interpret its Article 4(h), allowing for non-consensual armed interventions in certain circumstances, in future cases.

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The future of African Peacekeeping Missions: A shift from a militarized approach?

The intra-state nature of African conflicts is a product of the breakdown of law and order, public safety and security as well as collapse of police and law enforcement institutions resulting in weak states. While most of the challenges of peacekeeping operations require policing skills, political decision makers are increasingly relying on military responses. Consequently, PSOs, policing and populations are being militarized in the process. Peacekeepers are obliged to bridge the policing gaps through the provision of interim executive policing services in host countries. More importantly, they are expected to assist in rebuilding and re-establishing credible policing and rule of law institutions and services in those Member States. The rule of law is the crucible of any state and cornerstone of good governance, without it there is chaos, crass impunity and rule of the jungle.

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Contesting Visions of Peace in Africa: Darfur, Ivory Coast, Libya

Powerful nations still face the temptation of interpreting international law and norms in such a way that it suits their interests, and setting them aside when they don’t. I will argue that this is not only bad for international law and international security, but it is a particularly bad practice in Africa, because of the particularities of African history and contemporary African conflicts. These particularities include both the specific local details of African conflicts, which are best addressed by those in the neighbourhood who understand them best, and also the historically-grounded African distrust of outside interventions, which militates against the success of non-African initiatives.

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