To Intervene or Not To Intervene: An inside view of the AU’s decision-making on Article 4(h) and Burundi

Perhaps the most significant outcome of the 26th summit of the African Union (AU) was the decision scrapping the plan to deploy troops to Burundi for human protection purposes. In December 2015, the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), the continental body’s standing collective decision-making body on peace and security, announced a precedent-setting invocation of the AU’s Article 4(h) authorizing the deployment of a military mission to Burundi to quell violence related to disputed elections. The January 2016 summit marked a fresh consideration of the earlier decision. As quickly as the summit came to a close on 31 January 2016, those who followed the crisis in Burundi started expressing disappointment with the failure to authorize intervention.

Central to the AU’s decision-making were issues of substance and procedure that can only be understood in relation to the unfolding discussions before and during the AU summit. This policy briefing examines in detail how and why the AU summit arrived at its decision on MAPROBU. It further discusses the implications of the AU summit decision vis-àvis the situation in Burundi.

Stay Connected