The African Union (AU) Constitutive Act gives the continental body the right to intervene in a Member State in grave circumstances such as war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity [article 4(h)], while Member States may also request the AU’s intervention to restore peace and security in their territory [article 4(j)]. Article 13.1 of the Protocol on the Establishment of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) provides for the establishment of the African Standby Force (ASF) to enable the PSC to perform its responsibilities with respect to the deployment of peace support missions and interventions pursuant to article 4 (h) and (j) of the Constitutive Act.
In cases of terrorist attacks that come as a result of a Member State’s intervention in fighting an insurgency beyond its borders or in a neighbouring country, local law enforcement agencies undertake the necessary responses to address such attacks. The ASF can only intervene to support a Member State in dealing with an insurgency at the Member State’s explicit request in terms of article 4 (h) of the AU Constitutive Act.
The structures of the African Union are currently giving consideration to a Memorandum of Understanding between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms which will formalise and strengthen the partnership between the AU and sub- regional organisations on the deployment of the ASF.