As Hellquistnoted, “the AU is considered well advanced in its activist peace and securitypolicy, of which its sanctions doctrine against unconstitutional changes ofgovernment is a vital part.” The ConstituitiveAct (CA) makes it clear that “condemnation and rejection of unconstitutionalchanges of governments” is one of its working principle (Organization ofAfrican Unity, 2000, §4p). Indeed, the peace andSecurity Council of African Union is allowed to “institute sanctions wheneveran unconstitutional change of government takes place in a member state”.(African Union, 2002, §7) Thisfar-reaching sanction doctrine of the AU can be explained by the notion called”regime security” in the member states. ‘Regime security refers to “the condition where governing elites aresecure from violent domestic challenges to their rule” (Jackson, 2008, p.
148)Governments which seize power by way of non-democratic, unconstitutional manneroften suffer from a high level of regime insecurity because of a combination oflack of legitimacy , political fragmentation, improper social unity, and thelack of consensus as to various issues on social, economic, and political arena,as well as domestic sources of instability. (Koblentz, 2016) The higher the levelof regime insecurity grows, the more likely that an international system whichhas a high level of intervention in a member states would be established.Countries faceregime insecurity when they confront mainly a domestic threat such as civil waror antigovernment forces.
In general terms, there are many weak states amongthe developing countries which suffer from regime insecurity. Weak states are alsovulnerable to international / cross-border threat such as a border dispute or interferencefrom large countries. For instance, antigovernment forces often expand theiractivity with a help from a neighboring country or large countries. Moreover,there is a case that a cross-border threat is triggered by the domestic problem,in which, for example, civil war in a country extend to the neighboring countryin the form of increase in the number of refuges. As seen from this example, regimesecurity within one country has significant importance on its surroundingcountries in the sense that its influence is likely to go beyond the nationalboundaries. There are manyof weak countries in the African continent which always have problem with theirregime insecurity. (Diehl & Lepgold, 2003) The AU’s high levelof involvement in the domestic matters of the member states is because suchpolicy helps improve regime security within the African countries. (Jackson, 2013) The CA gives the AUthe right to intervene in a member states for the purpose of; preventing warcrimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
(Organization of African Unity,2000, §4h) Also, it allows the members states torequest intervention from the AU in order to restore peace and security. (Organizationof African Unity, 2000, §4j) The member states decidethe need for the AU to intervene based on the analysis on whether an issue inquestion is harmful to regime security of their own. (Sturman & Baimu, 2003) Take the example ofSomalia. Unable to govern most of its territory under the long lasting civilwar, Somali government requested intervention from the AU. In this case, facingthe civil war, Somali government utilized the AU’s principle of intervention inorder to improve its security. In addition, Yukawa (2010) points out that theintervention from the AU was because the civil war had the potential to spreadto the neighboring countries. In this case, it can be argued that the surroundingcountries of Somalia feared that the deteriorated regime security would have cross-borderimpact on themselves.The discussionabove is consistent with the preceding study by Acharya and Johnston that theregional organization among the developing countries is established andutilized with the aim of establishing or maintaining national sovereignty.
(Acharya & Johnston, 2007) In order to mitigateharmful influence of the civil war and its cross-border spillover effect whichwould deteriorate regime security in both Somalia and its surrounding countries,leading to harmful effect on their national sovereignty, the AU intervened inthe country.