Review of the Integration and Implementation of IHL in African Union Policies and Activities

Concept Note

Africa continues to be challenged with existing and emerging peace and security threats across the continent.  Many countries continue to live with the daily consequences of conflict posing suffering to civilians. The relevance of strengthening IHL has become more pertinent than ever. In this regard, the African Union (AU) and its predecessor, the Organization of the African Unity (OAU) have come a long way in recognizing and integrating IHL in their normative frameworks as well as implementing it at continental, regional and national levels.

As the AU marks its 20th anniversary, there are still challenges in adhering to IHL norms and principles regardless of the positive progress in putting in place applicable frameworks.  There also remains limited literature to review the progress and particularly that critically analyzes the challenges faced today by the AU and Member States, Non-State Armed Groups, and Peace Support Operations (PSOs) in complying with IHL.

Against this background, Amani Africa and ICRC came together to produce a Special Research to review the progress the AU has made so far in integrating principles and values of IHL into the various legal instruments, decisions, policies, and activities of its constituent organs, particularly the Peace and Security Council (PSC), the Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) Department. It also evaluates the evolution in norms development and practice to demonstrate how AU has assumed its role of norms setting and guidance to Member States on soft-law development and promotion. The research also discusses some of the successes and challenges of adoption and implementation in the various streams of decisions and actions of the AU and Member States with a focus on AU-mandated PSOs. It also proposes concrete recommendations to the AU, Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to improve compliance and adoption of IHL.

The Special Research is set to be officially launched on 12 December 2022 at the Hyaat Regency in Addis Ababa from 15:00- 17:00 in the presence of distinguished members of the PSC, representatives from the PAPS Department and other key organs, Member States, RECs and the wider diplomatic community to critically discuss the challenges and opportunities of IHL incorporation and application. It is also the objective to shed light on ways to strengthen approaches and mechanisms to advance the implementation of IHL in the continent by drawing from best-case practices and recommendations from stakeholders to support the work of the AU.


14:30-15:00                             Arrival and Registration

Opening Remarks

15:00-15:10                             Dr. Solomon Dersso, Founding Director, Amani Africa Media and Research Services

15:10-15:20                             Mr. Bruce Mokaya Orina, Head of ICRC Delegation to the African Union

15:20-15:30                             Dr. Guy Fleury Ntwari, Director, Office of the Legal Counsel, African Union Commission

Panel Discussion on the Integration and Implementation of International Humanitarian Law by the AU

Moderator: Dr. Omar Alasow Senior IHL/Human Rights Adviser to SRCC/ATMIS 

15:30-15:50                            Ms. Tsion Hagos, Researcher at Amani Africa Media and Research Services (Amani Africa)

15:50-16:05                            Colonel Vincent Gnamolende, Military Planning and Operations Officer, Peace Support Operations Officer in Charge of the Sahel and Central African Republic, Peace Support Operations Division, AU

16:05-16:20                             Dr. Gus Waschefort, Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Essex

16:20-16:40                             Contribution from TCCs and Member States from the floor

16:40-16:50                             Q&A

16:50-17:00                             Closing Remarks
Dr. Solomon Dersso, Founding Director, Amani Africa Media and Research Services

Mr. Bruce Mokaya Orina, Head of Delegation ICRC

17:00                                       Cocktail

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