Institutional Justice as a Condition for the Regional Acceptance of Global Order: The African Union and the Protection of Civilians

  • Matthias DembinskiEmail author
  • Dirk Peters
Part of the Studien des Leibniz-Instituts Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung book series (SLIHSFK)


This chapter argues that conflicts about liberal global norms can often be understood as conflicts about procedural justice in the application of those norms rather than as conflicts about their substance. Regional organizations, which are key actors for the acceptance of global norms on the regional and global level, respond to perceived procedural injustice by contesting the underlying regime. Consequently, reducing procedural injustice in the application of global norms will enhance the acceptance of those norms at the regional level. To illustrate this link, the chapter compares the response of the African Union (AU) to the application of global protection norms in two cases. The application of the Responsibility to Protect in Libya in 2011 resulted in attacks of the AU on the norm, whereas the application of the Protections of Civilians in Côte d’Ivoire in the same year was supported by the AU even though it resulted in the removal of an incumbent head of government as well. The difference lay less in the norms or their implications themselves but in the procedures through which they were applied. Whereas the AU was circumvented in the Libya case, it had effective voice in the Côte d’Ivoire case. Procedures for applying global norms should thus take into account that regional actors will oppose global norms when they recognize that they do not have a say in how they are implemented in their region.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF/HSFK)Frankfurt am MainGermany

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