Organization of African Unity

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Organization of African Unity

Organization of African Unity and the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes

Based on the Handbook on Peaceful Settlement of Disputes between States (1992, United Nations):

Article XIX of the OAU Charter lays down the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes and provides for the establishment of a commission of mediation, conciliation and arbitration, whose composition and conditions of service shall be defined by a separate protocol to be regarded as an integral part of the Charter. The said Protocol was signed at Cairo on 21 July 1964 and contains detailed provisions on the establishment and organization of the
Commission, on general principles and on the procedures to be followed in cases of mediation, conciliation and arbitration.

Disputes to the Commission

A dispute may be referred to the Commission jointly by the parties concerned, by a party to the dispute, by the Council of Ministers or by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

If a dispute has been referred to the Commission and one or more of the parties have refused to submit to the jurisdiction of the Commission, the Bureau refers the matter to the Council
of Ministers for consideration. On the other hand, the consent of the party may be expressed by a prior agreement, by an ad hoc submission of the dispute or by the acceptance of the other party’s or the Council’s or Assembly’s submission of the dispute to the Commission’s jurisdiction. The Commission is endowed with powers of investigation or inquiry with regard to
disputes submitted to it.

Modes of settlement

In accordance with the Protocol, the parties to a dispute may agree to resort to any one of the following modes of settlement:

  • mediation,
  • conciliation, or
  • arbitration.

These three modes are alternative-and not necessarily successive-procedures, and parties are free to use any one or all three in respect of a dispute.

Ad hoc Committee

In 1977, the Assembly of Heads of State and-Government of the Organization of African Unity, with a view to rendering the Commission more flexible and more apt to respond to the urgencies of intra-African disputes, decided to suspend the election of the Commission’s members and provisionally appoint an ad hoc Committee composed of nine States plus
three other possible members to be appointed by the Organization of African Unity Chairman.

Other Procedures

While the possibility always exists for Organization of African Unity to reactivate the Commission or the ad hoc Committee discussed above, in practice Organization of African Unity has had recourse to other procedures in a number of peaceful settlement
of disputes issues in which it has been involved. It has done so through the Council of Ministers and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government and through the creation of special or ad hoc committees other than the one mentioned above. It has also used the good offices
of some African statesmen.

Resort to the Organization of African Unity for Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes

Several examples may be given of ad hoc organs created either by the Council of Ministers or by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in their efforts towards the peaceful settlement of disputes among African States. Thus, after armed incidents took place in October 1963 between Algeria and Morocco in connection with a disputed area of the Sahara, and
following the personal intervention of some heads of State, an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers was convened at which an ad hoc commission was established to examine the questions connected with the frontier dispute and make recommendations for its peaceful settlement.

Other cases of mediation by heads of State include the following: in 1966, President Mobutu of Zaire, at the request of the OAU Assembly, mediated in an ethnic conflict between Rwanda and Burundi in 1972, the President of Somalia and the Administrative Secretary-General of OAU successfully mediated in serious troop clashes and border incidents between the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda.

Furthermore, an ad hoc committee was created by the Assembly in 1971 to attempt to mediate in a conflict involving Guinea and Senegal on the extradition of Guinean exiles alleged to have committed acts of government destabilization in Guinea.

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African
Unity created an Ad Hoc Committee of Heads of State on Western Sahara in order to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict between Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO Front). That Ad Hoc Committee set up the Implementation Committee of Heads of State on Western Sahara to ensure the observance of a cease-fire that had to be agreed upon between the parties to the dispute. Also, the Implementation Committee had to organize and conduct a referendum, under the auspices of OAU and the United Nations, to enable the people of that territory to exercise their right to self-determination.

Guide to the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes

  • 1. Introduction to the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes
  • 2. Peaceful Resolution of Disputes Obligation, which comprises:
  • a. History of Peaceful Settlement of Disputes Obligation
  • b. Peaceful Settlement of Disputes Obligation Nature
  • c. Obligation of Peaceful Settlement Scope
  • d. Obligation of Peaceful Settlement Content
  • 3. Means of Peaceful Settlement of Disputes between states, which comprises:
  • a. Variety of Means of Peaceful Settlement
  • b. Institutionalization of the Peaceful Means of Settlement
  • c. History of the Peaceful Means of Settlement
  • d. Peaceful Settlement of Disputes in International Organizations
  • 4. Variety Use of Means of Peaceful Settlement
  • 5. European Convention for the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes

References

See Also

Further Reading

  • Dreams of power: The role of the Organization of African Unity in the politics of Africa, 1963-1993 (K Van Walraven – 1999
  • The anatomy of influence: decision making in international organization (RW Cox, HK Jacobson, G Curzon – 1973 – Cambridge Univ Press)
  • The African Union (T Murithi – 2005)
  • Mediation in international relations: Multiple approaches to conflict management (JE Bercovitch, JZ Rubin – 1992)
  • Race for sanctions: African Americans against apartheid, 1946-1994 (FN Nesbitt – 2004)

Organization of African Unity

Embracing mainstream international law, this section on organization of african unity explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.

Resources

See Also

  • International Organization
  • Foreign Relations
  • Intergovernmental Organization
  • Regional Organization
  • Regional Integration

Resources

Further Reading

  • The entry “organization of african unity” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press

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