African Union Peace and Security Council: to Compete or Complement the un Security Council?

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Addis Ababa University


Since the transition of Organization of African Unity (OAU) in to an African Union (AU), Africans have taken laudable measures towards creating a comprehensive system to manage their own conflicts. One of such measure is the establishment of Peace and Security Council of African Union (AUPSC) which closely simulates the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The establishment of PSC has created some sort of anxiety as it has become confusing whether this organ is a meant to take over the primacy conferred up on the UNSC for the maintenance of international peace and security. The anxiety is evident when one considers legal documents of the Union and the practice so far. In an attempt to clear out the above confusion, the paper investigates whether African leaders by establishing their own Peace and Security Council (PSC) have intended to reserve the primacy for their own PSC or leave such primacy to the UNSC. To this end, the paper first analyzes the genesis of PSC to spot the factors that motivated African leaders to establish their own PSC. Then the paper critically scrutinizes the provisions of the Constitutive Act and the PSC protocol which are the two most important legal instruments of the Union on the area of peace and security. Finally, the paper studies the practice to observe how Africans have perceived their involvement in resolving conflicts of Africa, through the PSC. After a deep analysis on the above three areas, the paper argues that AUPSC is established to take primacy over UNSC on matters related to the maintenance of peace, security and stability on the continent of Africa. And, this paper argues that the general consensus reached by Africans to establish AUPSC in a way that usurp the power of the UNSC will make the nature of the relationship between these two counterparts of AU and UN more of competitive and will bring the laws of AU in a direct conflict with the Charter system. Accordingly, the paper urges the two councils to reach on a common understanding on the respective power and responsibilities and further calls for a more harmonized partnership between these two organs.



Since the transition of Organization of African Unity (OAU), in to an African Union (AU),