Sunday, July 05, 2009

AU Dissenters

Kevin Jon Heller has a good post complicating the earlier picture of AU nations deciding en masse to ignore their ICC treaty obligations vis-a-vis Sudan. Botswana has already said it will not go along with the motion, and reports indicate that the AU motion itself was hotly contested inside the organization. Dapo Akande argues that the AU's maneuvering have come within the context of the Rome Treaty and ICC procedure, which should be seen as proof that the continent is not rejecting the institution wholesale.

Eh. I'm pleased by the lack of unanimity and Botswana's defection. But the fact that the AU is able to work within legal confines rather than rejecting them outright doesn't tell us that much. Again, international law is an area with particular fluidity that enables it to be cited and deployed in favor of virtually any practical position a state might take. The actual way international legal disputes play out, then, is primarily a function of political power -- and the same reports which "complicate" the AU's resolution also indicate that the move came due to heavy pressure by Libya, one of the most powerful states in the union.

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