The evolution of norms in international relations : intervention and the principle of non-intervention in intra-African affairs
This thesis is about the co-evolution of non-interventionist norms and interventionist practice among African states in the post-colonial era. To understand this co-evolution, this study begins from the year 1957, when the first post-colonial state emerged, and is divided into three phases: the early post-colonial period (1957-1970), the post-independence period (1970-mid 1980), and the post-Cold War period (1990-April 1998). Each phase looks at examples of African involvement in internal disputes to consider how the practice of intervention has evolved alongside the clause of non-intervention in Article 3(2) of the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The cases studied illustrate the view that African leaders, to justify intervening in internal disputes, have often cited two persistent and recurrent themes: "African exclusivity" (often defined as "African solutions for African problems") and "African Unity" (often called "solidarity"). These however are not the only themes that explicate how intervention has evolved in African affairs. There are complex regional political realities and sensitivities and factors such as the problem of regional instability posed by internal disputes, the spread of arms and the overflow of refugees into neighbouring countries that impinge on the thinking of intervention and non-intervention. While there is an apparent contradiction between non-interventionist norms and interventionist practice in the history under investigation, the thesis concludes that instead, it represents a careful and pragmatic balance of coping with short-term contingencies (through intervention) and longer-term security (through strengthening the norm) without undermining the undoubted interest of African leaders to secure non-interventionist norms for Africa.