Supporting Democracy in Africa - African Union´s use of Targeted Sanctions to deal with Unconstitutional Changes of Government


  • Mikael Eriksson

Publish date: 2010-07-02

Report number: FOI-R--3000--SE

Pages: 84

Written in: English


  • Africa
  • African Union
  • sanctions
  • armed conflicts
  • unconstitutional changes of government
  • non-violence
  • sanctions committee


The aim of this study is to conduct an analysis of the African Union´s (AU) capacity to deal with political crises on the African continent by means of targeted sanctions. The goal is to take stock of AU´s sanctions capacity, especially through the lens of the Peace and Security Council, PSC, to get a betters sense of AU´s future development in the field of peace and security. This study also examines AU´s most common form of response to crisis and conflict in Africa in the period 2002-2010. The study concludes that the PSC has a good capacity to adopt tergeted sanctions against unconstitutional changes of government, but less so when it comes to responding to violent armed conflicts. The study also concludes that the AU is weak in terms of actually implementing sanctions. Thus, in order to strengthen AU´s sanctions policy, better implementation and stronger sanctions monitoring capacities are needed. An increase in cooperation with other relevant regional and international bodies is also needed to ensure the policy´s effectiveness. A positive development in this context is that the PSC in late 2009 decided to adopt a number of measures to strengthen its sanctions policy enforcement capacity. Notably the PSC will institutionalize a so-called sanctions Committee that will administrate AU´s all sanctions regimes. Such institutional development will strengthen the impact of PSC´s targeted sanctions policy significantly. Strengthening AU´s sanctions instrument means that African governments themselves, as well as other actors in the international community, may be better able to meet political crisis and armed conflicts earlier. In the end, increased political commitment will make the sanctions policy more effective and legitimate.