Aiming to review the progress achieved by the AU in integrating and implementing principles and values of IHL into the various legal instruments, decisions, policies, and activities of AU’s constituent organs, Amani Africa (a Pan-African think tank) and ICRC Delegation to the AU launched special research report on December 12, 2022, at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Addis Ababa.
The research report discusses the successes and challenges AU faces in its effort to integrate and implement IHL in its policies and activities. It further recommends member States to enhance the domestication of IHL instruments through necessary legislative measures. It acknowledges the importance of political support for the implementation of AU IHL compliance framework and pushes for the integration of basic IHL lessons in education curriculums. The research also stresses the need to enhance coordination between the AU and the UN to bring coherence of mechanisms for compliance and calls for collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs)/Regional Mechanisms (RMs) through sensitization and training campaigns on enforcing IHL. Moreover, it asserts, among others, the need for consolidating policies and operational guidelines into an overreaching AU document on compliance with IHL.
“The launch of this handbook is significant as it coincides with the 30th anniversary of the African Union and ICRC partnership where ICRC has been working in integrating IHL in AU policy frameworks by providing legal support, influencing policy and by levying on various decisions over the years,” said Bruce Mokaya Orina, Head of Delegation of the ICRC Delegation to the African Union in his opening remark. Furthermore, the Founding Director of Amani Africa, Dr. Solomon Dersso, emphasized how current conflict situations and dynamics have made IHL even more pertinent than ever. He went on to explain how IHL serves as the very last defense of common humanity where everything else fails in conflicts.
The African Union, represented by Mr. Zinurine Alghali, Acting Head of the AU Peace Support Operation Division, expressed the journey AU has taken over the years in integrating IHL since its initial mission to Burundi and now to the development of the AU compliance framework among others. He further acknowledged the need to continuously integrate IHL by the AU and member States.
The launching event was successfully held in the presence of distinguished members of the Peace and Security Council, representatives from the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department and other key organs, Member States, RECs, academic circles, and the wider diplomatic community.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).