Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Many of the nations of Africa have struggled with violence since their independence from colonial powers. The formation of an intercontinental body, the Organization for African Unity, did little to reduce the number or severity of the conflicts. The failure of this organization to maintain peace was due in large part to normative boundaries that prevented its involvement in the internal conflicts of its member nations. The Organization of African Unity was dissolved in favor of a new organization, the African Union, in 2001. The mandate of the African Union is much more proactive than that of its predecessor with regard to intervention in internal conflicts. Additionally, some of structural and practical weaknesses of the Organization of African Unity have been addressed in the African Union. The conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan proved to be the first real test case for the efficacy of the African Union. It is already apparent from the African Union's performance in Darfur that some of the normative weaknesses of the Organization of African Unity have been overcome. Yet, the African Union must do more, both in Darfur and elsewhere, to show that it is not hampered by the weaknesses of its predecessor.