As changes of governments” is one of its

As Hellquist
noted, “the AU is considered well advanced in its activist peace and security
policy, of which its sanctions doctrine against unconstitutional changes of
government is a vital part.”



The Constituitive
Act (CA) makes it clear that “condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional
changes of governments” is one of its working principle (Organization of
African Unity, 2000, §4p). Indeed, the peace and
Security Council of African Union is allowed to “institute sanctions whenever
an unconstitutional change of government takes place in a member state”.
(African Union, 2002, §7)

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far-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 are
secure from violent domestic challenges to their rule” (Jackson, 2008, p.148)
Governments which seize power by way of non-democratic, unconstitutional manner
often suffer from a high level of regime insecurity because of a combination of
lack of legitimacy , political fragmentation, improper social unity, and the
lack of consensus as to various issues on social, economic, and political arena,
as well as domestic sources of instability. (Koblentz, 2016) The higher the level
of regime insecurity grows, the more likely that an international system which
has a high level of intervention in a member states would be established.

Countries face
regime insecurity when they confront mainly a domestic threat such as civil war
or antigovernment forces. In general terms, there are many weak states among
the developing countries which suffer from regime insecurity. Weak states are also
vulnerable to international / cross-border threat such as a border dispute or interference
from large countries. For instance, antigovernment forces often expand their
activity 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 country
in the form of increase in the number of refuges. As seen from this example, regime
security within one country has significant importance on its surrounding
countries in the sense that its influence is likely to go beyond the national




There are many
of weak countries in the African continent which always have problem with their
regime insecurity. (Diehl & Lepgold, 2003) The AU’s high level
of involvement in the domestic matters of the member states is because such
policy helps improve regime security within the African countries. (Jackson, 2013) The CA gives the AU
the right to intervene in a member states for the purpose of; preventing war
crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. (Organization of African Unity,
2000, §4h) Also, it allows the members states to
request intervention from the AU in order to restore peace and security. (Organization
of African Unity, 2000, §4j) The member states decide
the need for the AU to intervene based on the analysis on whether an issue in
question is harmful to regime security of their own. (Sturman & Baimu, 2003) Take the example of
Somalia. Unable to govern most of its territory under the long lasting civil
war, Somali government requested intervention from the AU. In this case, facing
the civil war, Somali government utilized the AU’s principle of intervention in
order to improve its security. In addition, Yukawa (2010) points out that the
intervention from the AU was because the civil war had the potential to spread
to the neighboring countries. In this case, it can be argued that the surrounding
countries of Somalia feared that the deteriorated regime security would have cross-border
impact on themselves.

The discussion
above is consistent with the preceding study by Acharya and Johnston that the
regional organization among the developing countries is established and
utilized with the aim of establishing or maintaining national sovereignty. (Acharya & Johnston, 2007) In order to mitigate
harmful influence of the civil war and its cross-border spillover effect which
would deteriorate regime security in both Somalia and its surrounding countries,
leading to harmful effect on their national sovereignty, the AU intervened in
the country.   



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