Françafrique and the Prohibition of the Use of Force

Ricarda Roesch


TWAIL challenges the western origin of international law as well as its instrumentalisation by the global North. The prohibition of the use of force is a norm that, nevertheless, corresponds to the interests of the Third World, as it can help to ensure their territorial integrity. However, Art. 2(4) tends to be disrespected by western powers. An example thereof is the long tradition of French interventionism in Africa. After the end of colonialism, France continued its policy of interference, best described by the notion of Françafrique. The most recent examples are the military interventions in Côte d'Ivoire and Mali. This paper assesses how French interventionism has undermined the prohibition of the use of force. It will be shown that a gap between the official justification used by the French and their real intentions exists. The French tradition of intervention in its former colonies undermines the prohibition of the use of force and decreases the credibility of the UN Charter and the UN system. The TWAIL critique with regard to the law on the use of force is therefore justified. 

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