Inaugural Symposium of the Centre for Legal Integration in Africa on ‘The Future of Legal Orders in Africa’October 1, 2021
The Prosecutor Dominic Ongwen case before the International Criminal Court: A TWAIL-er’s perspectiveAugust 24, 2022
Regime Collision, Normative Hierarchies and the Legal Limits of African Union Intervention in Transitional Justice Societies: Burundi in context
Date: 10 June 2022
Time: 13h00-14h30 (SAST)
Venue: Online (Zoom)
The efforts to resolve the conflict in Burundi through the implementation of transitional justice has been fraught with many challenges. The crisis in Burundi took a new twist in June 2020 with the sudden passing away of one of the major actors, President Pierre Nkurunziza. However, this has not resolved the crisis in any significant way so far and it is imperative to revisit and examine some of the major unsettled underlying legal issues and draw some lessons for the future. In this paper, I argue that the Burundi crisis and the attempt by the African Union to resolve it through intervention presented a conflict of two legal regimes—the domestic constitutional order of Burundi and the African Union legal order as embodied in a number of regional treaties, principally, the African Union Constitutive Act and the Charter on Democracy and Governance. I argue that although Burundi has international law obligations under the African Union treaties it ratified with respect to the decisions of the African Union Constitutive Act on election matters in Burundi, when these obligations came in direct conflict with decisions of the highest court in the Burundian legal order, it was inevitable that Burundi, and any country for that matter would be inclined to uphold the decision of its domestic legal process and respect for the rule of law demands that external actors should differ to such decisions.
John-Mark Iyi is an Associate Professor and Director of the African Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape. He holds a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand and he researches in public international law, terrorism, international peace and security, humanitarian intervention, African Union, ECOWAS, and the United Nations. His most recent publications include “Is International Criminal Justice the Handmaiden of the Contemporary Imperial Project? A TWAIL Perspective on Some Arenas of Contestations”, in: International Criminal Law: A Counter-Hegemonic Project? Florian Jessberger et. al (Eds.) T.M Asser Press (forthcoming 2022); Boko Haram and International Law (2018) Springer (co-edited with Hennie Strydom).