UN Security Council decision making and conflict management in Africa: case study of 1994 Rwanda Genocide and Darfur war, 2003-2010
Inter- and intra-state conflicts in Africa are as old as the continent itself. Increasingly, more conflicts have become inter-state civil wars. These conflicts more often than not tend to threaten the stability of not just the country, but the international arena as well. Usually, when a conflict threatens international peace and security, the international community represented by the UN Security Council is mandated to mitigate the threat. The UN Security is mandated by the Charter to maintain international peace and security, and to respond to what can be discerned as threat to international peace and security. Despite this assertion, the Council sometimes fails to match its rhetoric with action leaving its reputation marred and inevitably, tainted. Much of the Council's perceived reluctance to respond to conflicts in Africa has been attributed to the complex decision making process of the organ, which seems to be held hostage by its permanent members (P-5). One of the cases the Council has got involved in is the Darfur crisis in Sudan. After fighting broke out in the region and vocal condemnation of the events there reached pitch high, the Council did not move decisively and expeditiously to offer a solution. In fact, it was even accused of moving in the opposite direction. This study examines the Council's decision making on Darfur in an attempt to provide an analytical understanding of the bureaucratic processes that inhibit its effective working. It seeks to provide an intellectual reference point for people wishing to engage the Council as policy entrepreneurs, to provide an analytical perspective of what has been termed 'ineffectiveness' of the Council in responding to conflicts in Africa, and to recommend ways and entry points of national governments, civil society and individuals who would wish to engage the Council on matters of conflict management. This research relied on the IR theory of realism and specifically critical realism to explain why the permanent members of the Council acted in the manner they did during the Rwanda Genocide in 1994, and on the on-going Darfur crisis. The methodology of the study is the research design known as formulative research studies. A review of relevant literature was done and the researcher built upon the work done by others. This study found out that national interests of the P-5 play a big role in determining whether or not the Council gets involved in a conflict situation in Africa. While such principles as non-indifference and responsibility to protect should be major determinants of the Council's involvement, the power politics of the P-5 are rendering the organ almost ineffective.