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53 J. Afr. L. 1 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/jaflaw53 and id is 1 raw text is: Journal of African Law. 53. 1 (2009), 1-33 C School of Oriental and African Studies.
doi:10.10171S0021855309000011 Printed in the United Kingdom
The Role of the United Nations, the African
Union and Africa's Sub-Regional Organizations
in Dealing with Africa's Human Rights Problems:
Connecting Humanitarian Intervention and the
Responsibility to Protect
Jeremy Sarkin*
This article examines the basis for humanitarian intervention (HI) in the United
Nations Charter, the African Union (AU) Charter and in a number of African sub-
regional institutions. It traces the historical development of HI and argues that,
while the right to HI emerged more than 100 years ago, that right also emerges
from the Genocide Convention. The article argues that this treaty connects HI to
the developing norm of the responsibility to protect (R2P) and examines the extent
to which R2P is garnering wider support around the world. It focuses on the UN,
and the various AU and sub-regional institutions and instruments that sanction
HI. It assesses whether intervention can be authorized even in the absence of a
UN Security Council mandate and examines the principles, application and inter-
relationship of R2P and HI in the African context. It traces the use of these norms
in Africa, including in the various sub-regional structures, and evaluates the AU's
political will and capability to deal with conflict and human rights abuse.
It is no secret that peace and security have eluded many people in Africa.
While the number of conflicts around the world is assessed to have declined
40 per cent between 1992 and 20051 and the number of states in Africa with
ongoing conflict has decreased, a number of African states are still beset by
genocide, crimes against humanity, killings, torture, and other civil and politi-
cal rights violations. In 2007 Freedom House found that, of the 20 countries in
world with the worst protection of civil and political rights, eight are in Africa
(C6te d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland
   Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, Hofstra University School of Law, Hempstead,
New York, USA; BA LLB (University of Natal (Durban); LLM (Harvard Law School); and
LLD (University of the Western Cape). Attorney in South Africa and in the state of
New York, USA. Member of the UN working group on enforced and involuntary disap-
pearances. My thanks to Amy Senier for her assistance with this article.
1   Human Security Report 2005: War and Peace in the 21st Century (2005, Oxford University
Press) at 22.

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