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Part 3 The Post 9/11-Era (2001–), 66 The ECOWAS Intervention in The Gambia—2016

Mohamed S. Helal

From: The Use of Force in International Law: A Case-Based Approach

Edited By: Tom Ruys, Olivier Corten, Alexandra Hofer

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 23 June 2024

Political violence — Armed conflict

This chapter discusses the legal justifications for the ECOWAS intervention in The Gambia, including: pro-democratic intervention, intervention by invitation, and Security Council authorization. It argues that the intervention is unjustifiable because pro-democratic intervention is not recognized as a legal basis for intervention, and because the Security Council did not authorize the intervention. The intervention is also not justifiable under the doctrine of intervention by invitation because President-Elect Adama Barrow did not exercise effective control when he invited ECOWAS to intervene to enforce the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. This chapter argues, however, when combined with earlier ECOWAS interventions, this intervention in The Gambia could signify a shift in the rules governing intervention by invitation, whereby a legitimate, but ineffective, government may enjoy the right to invite foreign intervention. Finally, this chapter argues that ECOWAS violated the prohibition on the threat of force by issuing an ultimatum to force the former Gambian President to relinquish power.

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