Tag Archives: Mali

Analysis of the Application of International Humanitarian Law in United Nations Mission in Mali (Published)

The whole essence of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is to reduce the impact of armed conflicts on humanity. The application of IHL in UN is mainly hinged on the Observance by United Nations forces of international humanitarian law. This paper analysed the application of IHL by the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The research problem is that the application of IHL by MINUSMA troops instead of assisting the peace process has been used by some of the non-state armed groups in the armed conflict as a weak point to attack more civilians being protected by the troops and even the peacekeepers themselves, inflicting more casualties on them. The objective of the research is to highlight those areas that make the UN troops more vulnerable to the non-state armed groups’ attacks by the application of IHL with a view to suggesting solutions. Doctrinal and teleological research methods were used in the work. Doctrinal through consulting primary and secondary legal authorities and teleological from the experience of the author as a former Force Legal Adviser of the mission. The paper found among others that the application of IHL in the mission is lopsided in the sense that no one checks the non-state armed groups who do not respect the law. There are also different legal jurisdictions of the troops which contribute to unequal application of the law by all troops. The paper recommended among others, full implementation of peace enforcement by the mission and enhancement of pre-deployment training on IHL for peacekeepers.

Citation: Emmanuel Onyekachi Ugwu  (2021) Analysis of the Application of International Humanitarian Law in United Nations Mission in Mali, Global Journal of Politics and Law Research, Vol.9, No.6, pp.33-46


Keywords: MINUSMA, Mali, United Nations, armed groups, international humanitarian law, peacekeeping


Intervention in terms of international law, is the term for the use of force by one country or sovereign state in the internal or external affairs of another. In most cases, intervention is considered to be an unlawful. Oppenheim (1992) defines intervention as a forcible or dictorial interference by a State in the affairs of another State calculated to impose certain conduct or consequences on that other State. The military intervention by ECOWAS has not been totally successful in quelling conflicts, crisis of regime change and political succession and military intervention into politics in the West African sub-region and the Africa generally. Intervention can be done by various means, e.g. military, subversive, economic, or diplomatic. The latest of these conflicts in the sub-region which ECOWAS has intervened are Mali and Guinea Bissau in 2012. The objective has been to restore democracy by forcing the military back to the barracks or restricting it to the constitutional role of protecting the territorial integrity from internal insurrection and external aggression. But the  root causes  of military intervention into politics and  crisis of regime change or political succession are yet to be adequately addressed by the ECOWAS, for example, issues of legitimacy crisis, poor governance, bad leadership, political leadership failure, political corruption, electoral crisis and political violence have been largely left unattended or ignored. The political conditions in most of the countries in the sub-region and indeed Africa as a whole are not democracy friendly or unsuitable for democratization and flourishing of democracy or demilitarization (Aning and Bah, 2010; Sperling, 2011). Most scholars like Nowrot and Schabacker (1998) focus on the legality of ECOWAS intervention while the likes of Olonisakan (2010) concentrates on the effectiveness of the military intervention in quelling  conflicts in the West African sub-region. Despite the fact that peacekeeping partnerships are yet to mature, the general consensus is that the world is headed towards greater integration between the UN and regional arrangements such as Ecowas. Such institutions play an important role, especially in a world with power imbalances, distrust and unrest. Cooperation among states towards peacekeeping mechanisms gives birth to opportunities for burden sharing, balancing power, pursuing self-interest and generally preventing the collapse of world order as it stands. In light of the changing security dynamics, peace operations have become both all the more complex and important. Bringing together regional arrangements allows flexibility for political manoeuvring and unity vis-à-vis mission mandate and implementation. Still in its infancy, peacekeeping alliances should be viewed as a means to an end rather than an end unto itself. It is impossible to obtain a foolproof hybrid operation. But with each step forward, finding common ground for joint preparation mechanisms becomes all the more easier.This paper titled “UN-ECOWAS intervention in Mali: Geo-Economic and Strategic Analysis” . The study is basically a qualitative research method relying mainly on secondary sources of data from internet source, official documents and country websites as the method of data collection. We made use of qualitative – descriptive analysis as our method of data analysis, that is, documentary studies of official document and other materials in analyzing the secondary data. The major purpose of embarking on this research is to examine the geo-economic and strategic implications of UN-ECOWAS intervention in Mali. Thus, we were able to make the following principal findings that, one, the delayed UN backed ECOWAS humanitarian intervention deepened the crisis in Mali. Two, that the poorly funded UN supported ECOWAS peacekeeping intervention worsened the terrorist attack in Mali. On the basis of this, we recommend, one, that UN and ECOWAS should evolve a rapid and quick deployment of humanitarian intervention forces in order to lesson crisis. Two, that UN and ECOWAS should adequately fund peacekeeping intervention forces in order to reduce terrorist attack.

Keywords: Ecowas, Geo-Economic and Strategic Analysis, Guinea Bissau, Intervention, Mali, United Nations