Writing the Script? ECOWAS’s Military Intervention Mechanism
Kai Striebinger, Christoph Hartmann – 2015
In 1999, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted an innovative protocol. The ECOWAS Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peace-Keeping, and Security (Protocol-Mechanism) established a nine-member state Mediation and Security Council (MSC) deciding with majority rule upon military interventions in member states against the will of target countries in cases of, among other things, violation of human rights, the rule of law, or democratic principles. Up until then the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had been the sole organization to have this right, and so far no other regional organization had followed suit. An additional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance from 2001 complemented the first protocol by providing a more explicit framework of reference for appropriate governance standards within member states. In a region mostly known for countries with weak statehood and military coup d’états, the protocols of 1999 and 2001 represent a strong commitment to liberal democracy combined with a mandate by the regional organization to defend these principles by force if necessary.