Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Disputes Between Cameroon And Nigeria

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Disputes Between Cameroon And Nigeria

Year(s): 1994 – 2006.

Location: Cameroon/Nigeria International Border.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Diplomacy, resolution of a militarised territorial dispute, mediation of a peace agreement, and stabilising international borders.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The UN, International Court of Justice, the Organisation of African Unity, and the governments of France, Gabon, and Togo.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: A militarised territorial dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria was resolved by the International Court of Justice, the Organisation of African Unity, and the UN helped to ensure the peaceful withdrawal of Nigerian forces from the contested area.

Description of Case 

When Cameroon and Nigeria emerged as independent states in the 1960s, their mutual border remained largely unmarked and swathes of territory was claimed by the administrations of both states. During the 1980s, incidents on the border became increasingly violent, with clashes between soldiers taking place around Lake Chad and on the Bakassi Peninsula.[1] Located in the Niger Delta, the Peninsula had been governed by the British alongside much of the rest of what became Nigeria until 1913, when it was ceded to the German colony of Kamerun. The details of this exchange formed the basis of the competing contemporary claims on the territory. A 1961 plebiscite resulted in the area becoming part of Cameroon, however the discovery of oil and gas fields around the Bakassi Peninsula in the 1990s provided motivation for both states to claim the territory.[2] In 1993, another border clash led the Government of Nigeria (which had come to power in a coup d’état just a month earlier) to abrogate all previous agreements and march thousands of troops into the Peninsula.[3]

Rather than responding with force to the incursion on its territory, the Government of Cameroon filed a case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1994.[4] The conflict, however, continued at a low intensity and the likelihood of escalation remained high regardless of developments in The Hague. To contain the crisis, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) mediated negotiations between the parties, and separate talks were later hosted by the governments of Togo and Gabon. In September 2002, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Government of France sponsored talks in Paris, where both parties formally committed to respecting the judgement of the ICJ.[5] This round of talks also resulted in the UN forming a joint Cameroonian-Nigerian commission, which resolved several disputes (such as that concerning the territory around Lake Chad) but failed to address Bakassi.[6] In its judgement the following month, the ICJ granted sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon and ordered the removal of all Nigerian personnel from the area.[7] Continued Nigerian recalcitrance to withdraw led to another flare up of tensions in June 2005, leading to yet another round of negotiations hosted by the UN.[8] These talks culminated in June 2006 with the Greentree Agreement and the withdrawal of Nigerian troops from the area two months later.[9] Thanks to the efforts of the OAU, UN, and ICJ, an interstate conflict between Cameroon and Nigeria was avoided.

 

[1] Alan Cowell. “In Crisis With Cameroon, Nigeria Turns Self-Critical.” The New York Times. (1981) Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/22/world/in-crisis-with-cameroon-nigeria-turns-self-critical.html (Accessed 17/11/2020)

[2] Francis Baye. “Implications of the Bakassi conflict resolution for Cameroon.” African Journal on Conflict Resolution, Vol. 20, No. 1. (2010) Available at: https://www.accord.org.za/ajcr-issues/implications-of-the-bakassi-conflict-resolution-for-cameroon/ (Accessed 17/11/2020); Obasesam Okoi. “Why Nations Fight: The Causes of the Nigeria-Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula Conflict.” African Security, Vol. 9, No. 1. (2016)

[3] Hilary V. Lukong. The Cameroon-Nigeria Border Dispute: Management and Resolution, 1981-2011. (Bamenda: Langaa, 2011) p.26

[4] ICJ. Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria: Equatorial Guinea intervening). (ICJ, 2020) Available at: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/94 (Accessed 17/11/2020)

[5] UN. “Meeting with Annan, Cameroon and Nigeria agree to follow ICJ border decision.” UN News. (2002) Available at: https://news.un.org/en/story/2002/09/44422-meeting-annan-cameroon-and-nigeria-agree-follow-icj-border-decision (Accessed 17/11/2020)

[6] UNOWAS. The Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission: A success in the resolution of boundary dispute. (UN, 2020) Available at: https://unowas.unmissions.org/cameroon-nigeria-mixed-commission-success-resolution-boundary-dispute (Accessed 17/11/2020)

[7] ICJ. Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria.

[8] Uppsala Conflict Data Program. Cameroon – Nigeria. (UCDP, 2020) Available at: https://ucdp.uu.se/conflict/405 (Accessed 17/11/2020)

[9] Agreement between the Republic of Cameroon and the Federal Republic of Nigeria concerning the Modalities of Withdrawal and Transfer of Authority in the Bakassi Peninsula, 2006. Available at: https://www.peaceagreements.org/view/240 (Accessed 17/11/2020)

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Disputes Between Botswana And Namibia

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Disputes Between Botswana And Namibia

Year(s): 1999 – 2018.

Location: Botswana/Namibia International Border.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Resolution of a militarised territorial dispute and stabilising international borders.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The International Court of Justice, the African Union, and the Government of Zimbabwe.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The territorial dispute between Botswana and Namibia, the result of an 1890 treaty between Germany and the UK, was peacefully resolved by the arbitration of the International Court of Justice in 1999 after a series of border clashes.

Description of Case 

The border between modern-day Botswana and Namibia was established along the “main channels” of the rivers along the mutual frontier by an 1890 treaty between the UK and Germany, the respective colonial powers at the time.[1] The ambiguity of this delineation has led the governments of both countries to issue competing claims on territory in the border rivers, with the Sedudu Islands representing a particularly contested prize. While the Islands themselves have some value as tourist destinations, the primary concern was the division of water reserves that legal jurisdiction over the territory would offer.[2] Tensions between the administrations of each state were heightened when the Namibian government proposed building a 250km water pipeline from the Okavango River to feed its growing needs.[3] Such a development would have potentially threatened the Okavango Delta in Botswana with desertification. In 1991, Botswana deployed troops to the region, and in 1993, soldiers from both countries exchanged fire in the area. In the ensuing years, both countries built up their military forces along the border. Tensions continued to rise in 1996, when Botswana acquired tanks and fighter-bombers and Namibia bought a large shipment of arms from Russia.[4] Given the high numbers of military personnel in the region and the history of clashes along the border, the dispute ran the risk of sparking an interstate conflict and represented a pervasive threat to peace and stability in the region.  

The Government of Zimbabwe provided good offices to facilitate negotiations in 1996 which, although ultimately fruitless, inspired the Botswanan and Namibian governments of both states to submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice.[5] Judges at the Court considered the case until December 1999, when they ruled that the territory was lawfully that of Botswana, but both states should enjoy freedom of navigation on the river.[6] Although this decision resolved the conflict, Botswanan and Namibian troops almost clashed in 2015.[7] Recognising the continued risk posed by the frontier, the governments of both states invited the African Union to mediate the negotiation of a formal boundary treaty in 2016 to not only reduce the likelihood of such clashes, but to also facilitate movement and trade. The African Union Border Programme advised the process. On 6 February 2018, representatives from both states signed the Boundary Treaty in the Namibian capital, Windhoek.[8]

 

 [1] Salman M. A. Salman. “International Rivers as Boundaries: The Dispute over Kasikili/Seduku Island and the Decision of the International Court of Justice.” Water International, Vol. 25, No. 4. (2000) p.582

[2] C.J.B. Le Roux. “The Botswana-Namibia Boundary Dispute in the Caprivi: To what extent does Botswana’s Arms Procurement Program represent a drift towards Military Confrontation in the Region?” Scientia Militaia, South African Journal of Military Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1. (1999)

[3] The Economist. “Thirst: Botswana and Namibia.” The Economist. (1997) Available at: https://www.economist.com/international/1997/07/03/thirst (Accessed 05/11/2020)

[4] The Independent. “Botswana’s army chief defends purchase of tanks and combat aircraft.” The Independent. (1996) Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/botswanas-army-chief-defends-purchase-of-tanks-and-combat-aircraft-1338858.html (Accessed 05/11/2020)

[5] Salman. “International Rivers as Boundaries.” p.582

[6] ICJ. Kasikili/Sedudu Island (Botswana/Namibia): Overview of the Case. (ICJ, 1999) Available at: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/98 (Accessed 05/11/2020)

[7] Online Editor. “Botswana, Namibia soldiers nearly clash at border.” Sunday Standard. (2015) Available at: https://www.sundaystandard.info/botswana-namibia-soldiers-nearly-clash-at-border/ (Accessed 05/11/2020)

[8] African Union. “The AU congratulates the Republic of Botswana and the Republic of Namibia on the signing of their Boundary Treaty.” News. (2018) Available at: https://www.peaceau.org/en/article/the-au-congratulates-the-republic-of-botswana-and-the-republic-of-namibia-on-the-signing-of-their-boundary-treaty (Accessed 05/11/2020)

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Honduras And Nicaragua

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Honduras And Nicaragua

Year(s): 1999 – 2007.

Location: Honduras/Nicaragua International Border (maritime).

UN Regional Group: Latin America and the Caribbean.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Diplomacy, an observer mission, and the resolution of a militarised territorial dispute.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Organisation of American States and the International Court of Justice.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The Organisation of American States helped to prevent a territorial dispute between Honduras and Nicaragua from escalating into armed conflict while the International Court of Justice investigated the case and resolved the dispute peacefully.

Description of Case 

The 700km Honduras-Nicaragua land border has been a source of dispute since the end of Spanish colonial rule in the 1820s. Although several wars have taken place between the two states, many of the disputes have been settled by international arbitration. Indeed, various resolutions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and before that, the King of Spain, had resolved several areas of contention, but the maritime boundary remained a major point of contention. In 1999, the Honduran parliament ratified a 1985 treaty with Colombia which implicitly recognised Colombian sovereignty over maritime territory claimed by Nicaragua. Almost immediately, the Nicaraguan government raised a case with the ICJ regarding the delimitation of its maritime border with Honduras.[1] With the dispute escalating, the governments of Honduras and Nicaragua requested that the Organisation of American States (OAS) hold a special session to address the crisis.

In response to the dispute, the OAS dispatched a Special Representative to mediate negotiations between the two governments. The talks resulted in a series of agreements to ensure peaceful relations, culminating in March 2000 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, which noted that the two countries should restrict military activities along the border and conducting joint maritime patrols.[2] In February 2001, tensions were heightened again amidst claims of violations of the measures outlined in the Memorandum. The OAS once again hosted talks, and the agreement that was reached included an invitation for technical experts and observers from the international community to monitor the border. In June 2001, the OAS formed a small Observer Mission with staff from its secretariat and military personnel from Argentina and Brazil. The Mission, which was entirely financed by the Fund for Peace, verified both the land and maritime border, providing assurances to both sides and encouraging cooperation between them. At a ceremony at OAS headquarters in December 2001, representatives of both governments signed additional agreements aimed at improving relations between them.[3] In October 2007, the ICJ concluded its investigation, and its findings were accepted by both parties, bringing a peaceful end to the dispute.[4]  

[1] ICJ. Territorial and Maritime Dispute between Nicaragua and Honduras in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Honduras). (ICJ, 2020) Available at: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/120 (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[2] OAS. Agreements. (OAS Peace Fund, 2020) Available at: https://www.oea.org/sap/peacefund/agreements/ (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[3] OAS. Peace Fund – Honduras and Nicaragua. (OAS Peace Fund, 2009) Available at: http://www.oas.org/sap/peacefund/hondurasandnicaragua/ (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[4] ICJ. Territorial and Maritime Dispute between Nicaragua and Honduras in the Caribbean Sea.

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Ecuador And Peru

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Ecuador And Peru

Year(s): 1995 – 1998.

Location: Ecuador/Peru International Border.

UN Regional Group: Latin America and the Caribbean.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: An observation mission, diplomacy, and the resolution of a militarised territorial dispute.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Military Observer Mission for Ecuador and Peru and the Guarantors of the Rio de Janeiro Protocol.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: A return to armed conflict on the volatile border was prevented and the territorial dispute that had caused so many wars over the centuries was resolved.

Description of Case 

The accords signed in Brasilia and Montevideo in 1995 stopped the fighting between Ecuador and Peru, yet several fatal clashes occurred in the ensuing months and the territorial dispute remained unresolved. The accords did, however, establish mechanisms to prevent a return to conflict until a political solution to the dispute could be found. The Military Observer Mission for Ecuador and Peru (MOMEP) was the product of the Itamaraty Declaration and could have been on the ground immediately thanks to the logistical capabilities of the US military, which led the operation. However, breaches of the ceasefire delayed the arrival of the 112 observers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the USA until 12 March 1995.[1] MOMEP worked to verify compliance with the ceasefire, monitoring the withdrawal of 3,000 Ecuadorian and 2,000 Peruvian combatants through difficult jungle terrain. MOMEP also facilitated the negotiations which concluded with the establishment of the demilitarised zone stipulated in the Itamaraty Declaration on 1 August 1995.[2] Implementation was largely successful; however, the dispute did threaten to escalate again when both states invested heavily in strengthening their armed forces, increasing tensions in the region.[3] MOMEP remained in place until May 1997, during which time it continued to verify the ceasefire and hold meetings and joint patrols with personnel from both countries.[4]

While MOMEP addressed the military aspects of consolidating the peace, representatives from the Guarantors mediated negotiations between the belligerents. In November 1997, the parties agreed to a timetable for further talks and, in January 1998, established four binational commissions to develop solutions to the main impasses in the peace process, including the demarcation of the border.[5] By May, most of the issues had been resolved according to the recommendations of the commissions, allowing the leaders of Ecuador and Peru to sign the Presidential Act of Brasilia .[6] The Act included a legal declaration to reject the use of war and violence against each other and formally resolved the long-standing territorial dispute. One point of contention regarding navigation rights on the Amazon remained unresolved, but both governments committed to addressing it peacefully.

[1] Kevin M. Higgins. Military Observer Mission Ecuador-Peru (MOMEP): Doing A Lot With a Little. (Monterey: Naval Postgraduate School, 1999) p.8

[2] Joseph L. Homza. “Special Operators: A Key Ingredient for Successful Peacekeeping Operations Management.” Low Intensity Conflict & Law Enforcement, Vol. 12, No. 1. (2004) pp.101-2

[3] Simms. “Territorial Disputes and Their Resolution.” p.13-4

[4] Higgins. Military Observer Mission Ecuador-Peru (MOMEP). pp.9-10

[5] Simms. “Territorial Disputes and Their Resolution.” pp.15-6

[6] Presidential Act of Brasilia, 1998. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/ecuadorperu-actbrasilia98 (Accessed 03/12/2020)

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Djibouti And Eritrea

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Djibouti And Eritrea

Year(s): 2018.

Location: Djibouti/Eritrea International Border.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Diplomacy, the mediation of a peace agreement, stabilising borders, and the resolution of a militarised territorial dispute.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The African Union, UN, and the Government of Saudi Arabia.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: The militarised territorial dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea was prevented from escalating in 2017 by the timely diplomatic intervention of the African Union and was ultimately resolved after the Government of Saudi Arabia mediated a peace agreement.

Description of Case 

The mediation services and peacekeeping mission provided by the Government of Qatar served to prevent an outbreak of armed conflict following the clashes on the Djibouti-Eritrea border in 2008. Despite the imposition of sanctions on the Government of Eritrea in 2009, the conflict remained unresolved and highly militarised, with both countries maintaining large military forces in the area. During the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis, the governments of both Djibouti and Eritrea backed the decision to isolate the Gulf state in solidarity with powerful regional actors, most notably Saudi Arabia. In response, Qatar withdrew its peacekeeping force from the disputed territory after seven years of operating.[1] Eritrean armed forces returned to the contested area almost immediately, bringing the former belligerents back to the verge of war.[2]

The African Union (AU) immediately called for calm and dispatched a fact-finding mission to the area to discover what was happening but refused to deploy a peacekeeping mission, as requested by the Government of Djibouti.[3] The dispute remained unresolved and a potential source of armed conflict until the 8 June 2018, when the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia met to resolve their own long-standing territorial dispute. In addition to formally ending the dispute and normalising relations between their two countries, the meeting sparked a rapprochement with other governments in the region. The Government of Somalia soon reconciled its own differences with the Eritrean leadership, sending a delegation along with the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia (the Joint High-Level Committee) to Djibouti in September 2018. The Committee was tasked with opening a new era of cooperation in the Horn of Africa by resolving the dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea. After initial talks, the governments of the three states signed the Djibouti Agreement, formally entering a period of cooperation.[4] The following week, representatives from across the Horn of Africa were invited to the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah to formalise their commitments to peace.[5] On 16 September, the Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders signed their deal. The following day, the Government of Saudi Arabia hosted the first face-to-face meeting between the Djiboutian and Eritrean leaders in over a decade.[6] These efforts have greatly reduced the risk of interstate conflict not just between Djibouti and Eritrea, but across the entire Horn of Africa.

[1] Reuters Staff. “Qatar withdraws troops from Djibouti-Eritrea border mission.” Reuters. (2017) Available at: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-djibouti/qatar-withdraws-troops-from-djibouti-eritrea-border-mission-idUSKBN1950W5 (Accessed 10/12/2020)

[2] Aaron Maasho. “Djibouti, Eritrea in territorial dispute after Qatar peacekeepers leave.” Reuters. (2017) Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-djibouti-eritrea-border-idUSKBN1971JR (Accessed 10/12/2020)

[3] African Union. “AU Commission calls for Restraint on the Djibouti-Eritrea Border.” AU Press Release. (2017) Available at: https://www.peaceau.org/en/article/press-release-au-commission-calls-for-restraint-on-the-djibouti-eritrea-border (Accessed 10/12/2020)

[4] UN. “Horn of Africa: UN chief welcomes Djibouti agreement between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.” UN News. (2018) Available at: https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/09/1018811 (Accessed 10/12/2020)

[5] Fatah Arahman Youssef. “President of Djibouti: Saudi Arabia Helped Us Open a New Page with Eritrea.” Asharq Al-Awsat. (2018) Available at: https://english.aawsat.com//home/article/1406371/president-djibouti-saudi-arabia-helped-us-open-new-page-eritrea (Accessed 10/12/2020)

[6] Camille Lons. “Saudi Arabira and UAE Look to Africa.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (2018) Available at: https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/77561 (Accessed 10/12/2020)

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Costa Rica And Nicaragua

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Costa Rica And Nicaragua

Year(s): 2014 – 2018.

Location: Costa Rica/Nicaragua International Border.

UN Regional Group: Latin American and the Caribbean.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Diplomacy and the resolution of a militarised territorial dispute.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Organisation of American States and the International Court of Justice.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: A diplomatic intervention by the Organisation of American States prevented an armed conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua from erupting in 2010 and the International Court of Justice peacefully resolved the dispute in 2018.

Description of Case 

The 1858 Treaty of Cañas-Jerez established the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua as the San Juan River and provided stipulations for its use by both countries. However, differing interpretations of the Treaty have led to a series of disputes over territory along the border.[1] Following several relatively minor incidents, the dispute flared up again in 2010 when the Nicaraguan military began dredging the river (which the Costa Rican government claimed was altering the border and damaging Costa Rican territory) and stationing troops on territory claimed by Costa Rica. The Government of Nicaragua justified such actions with another reinterpretation of nineteenth century treaties and the fact that Google Maps listed the territory as Nicaraguan.[2] Although Costa Rica does not have a military, over 200 armed police were dispatched to the area in response to what the government called “an occupation.”[3] In this uncertain context, there was every likelihood that an armed conflict would erupt.

Fearing the crisis would escalate, the Organisation of American States (OAS) called for both countries to withdraw their security personnel from the area and open a dialogue. When the Government of Nicaragua refused to withdraw its troops from the area, the OAS Secretary-General travelled to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to investigate the dispute and pressure the parties to resolve it peacefully.[4] His visit was complemented by the promulgation of a formal OAS resolution requesting both countries withdraw armed personnel from the area and open a dialogue.[5] With the Nicaraguan Government still refusing to withdraw its troops (and challenging the OAS’s right to make such demands), the Costa Rican government raised another case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).[6] The immediate crisis was mitigated in March 2011, when the ICJ ruled that both countries must refrain from sending personnel to the area.[7] A more permanent resolution was issued in a 2018 ruling which judged much of the disputed territory to be Costa Rican (although a 3km strip of beach was awarded to Nicaragua), finalised the mutual maritime border, and stipulated that the Government of Nicaragua must pay compensation for environmental damage.[8] Thanks in part to the preventive diplomacy efforts of the OAS and the rulings of the ICJ, a potentially volatile territorial dispute was prevented from escalating into armed conflict.

[1] Carin Zissis & David Schreiner. “A River Runs through It: The Costa Rica-Nicaragua Dispute.” Americas Society: Council of the Americas. (2010) Available at: https://www.as-coa.org/articles/river-runs-through-it-costa-rica-nicaragua-dispute (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[2] Centre for Borders Research. “Boundary dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua involves Google maps.” Boundary news. (2010) Available at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/ibru/news/boundary_news/?itemno=11048&rehref=%2Fibru%2Fnews%2F&resubj=Boundary+news+Headlines (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[3] Ibid.

[4] OAS. “OAS Secretary General to Travel to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to Facilitate Dialogue.” Press Release. (2010) Available at: https://www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-416/10 (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[5] The Economist Intelligence Unit. “The political scene: Costa Rica-Nicaragua border dispute intensifies.” The Economist. (2010) Available at: http://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?articleid=547662039&Country=Costa%20Rica (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[6] ICJ. Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua). (ICJ, 2020) Available at: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/150 (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[7] Adam Williams. “International Court of Justice rules that Nicaraguan troops must leave Isla Calero.” The Tico Times. (2011) Available at: https://ticotimes.net/2011/03/08/international-court-of-justice-rules-that-nicaraguan-troops-must-leave-isla-calero (Accessed 09/11/2020)

[8] ICJ. Land Boundary in the Northern Part of Isla Portillos (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua). (ICJ, 2020) Available at: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/165 (Accessed 09/11/2020)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Chad And Libya

Resolving The Militarised Territorial Dispute Between Chad And Libya

Year(s): 1990 – 1994.

Location: Aouzou Strip, Chad.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Interstate Conflict, Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Resolution of a militarised territorial dispute, a peacekeeping mission, and stabilising international borders.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Organisation of African Unity, the UN, and the International Court of Justice.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: Following the International Court of Justice’s judgement of the dispute, the United Nations Aouzou Strip Observer Group monitored the withdrawal of Libyan troops from the area and helped ensure that the handover of the disputed territory to Chad went ahead peacefully.

Description of Case 

The Aouzou Strip is a piece of mineral-rich land along the Chadian-Libyan frontier in the Sahara Desert. Although a 1955 treaty between France and Libya had stipulated that the territory was a part of Chad, the rise of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya complicated the situation. He contested the validity of the treaty, citing an unratified agreement between fascist Italy and France which would have awarded the Strip to Libya. In 1973, amidst the chaos of the 1965 – 1979 Chadian Civil War, the Government of Libya annexed and occupied the Aouzou Strip.[1] By 1978, thousands of Libyan troops were fighting in support of Chadian rebels, leading the Government of Chad to bring the occupation of the Aouzou Strip to the UN Security Council alongside its protests concerning Libyan involvement in the war. With considerable French support, the Government of Chad eventually drove Libyan forces out of the country and began mounting operations in the Strip and the Libyan hinterland. The reversal of fortunes led to a ceasefire, mediated by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), in September 1987. Talks continued over the next two years, and although the belligerents failed to produce a bilateral solution to the territorial dispute, they did resolve to submit the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at OAU-mediated talks in Algiers.[2]

The ICJ delivered its judgement in February 1994, supporting Chad’s claim on the territory.[3] In the ensuing months, negotiations were held between the governments of Chad and Libya, culminating with a comprehensive agreement on Libyan withdrawal and the establishment of a joint commission to demarcate the border.[4] As the first Libyan personnel were leaving the Strip on 15 April 1994, a UN reconnaissance team arrived to survey conditions on the ground. Two weeks later, the United Nations Aouzou Strip Observer Group (UNASOG) was formally established to monitor and verify the Libyan withdrawal.[5] These tasks were carried out successfully, with the Libyan troops completing their withdrawal and formally handing over control of the Aouzou Strip to Chad at the end of May 1994. Its mandate complete, UNASOG was disbanded a week later.[6] The mediation of the OAU helped to end the conflict, the arbitration of the ICJ provided a permanent solution to the dispute, and UNASOG observers ensured that the transition went ahead peacefully.

 

[1] UCDP. Chad – Libya. (UCDP, 2020) Available at: https://ucdp.uu.se/conflict/361 (Accessed 01/12/2020)

[2] Framework Agreement on the Peaceful Settlement of the Territorial Dispute between the Republic of Chad and the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, 1989. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/chadlibyaframeworkagreement89 (Accessed 07/12/2020)

[3] ICJ. Territorial Dispute (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/Chad): Overview of the Case. (ICJ, 2020) Available at: https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/83 (Accessed 07/12/2020)

[4] Agreement between Libya and Chad Concerning the Practical Modalities for the Implementation of the Judgment Delivered by the ICJ on 3 February 1994, 1994. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/chadlibyaimplementationicj94 (Accessed 07/12/2020)

[5] UN Peacekeeping. Aouzou Strip: Background. (UN, 2001) Available at: https://peacekeeping.un.org/sites/default/files/past/unasogB.htm#Establishment (Accessed 07/12/2020)

[6] Ibid.

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Resolving The Militarised Border Dispute Between Guinea-Bissau And Senegal

Resolving The Militarised Border Dispute Between Guinea-Bissau And Senegal

Year(s): 1985 – 1991.

Location: The Guinea-Bissau/Senegal International Border.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Diplomacy and the resolution of a militarised territorial dispute.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Government of France and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: French diplomacy helped to prevent border clashes from escalating while the arbitration of the ICJ resolved the territorial dispute between the two countries.

Description of Case 

In 1974, the government of newly independent Guinea-Bissau sought to confirm their international borders to facilitate trade and economic development. Like in most African states, these were inherited from the former colonial power – in this case, Portugal. A point of contention emerged with neighbouring Senegal concerning potentially rich offshore resources. This was compounded by alleged Bissau-Guinean support for armed opposition groups in the Senegalese region of Casamance, which is located directly across the border. Bilateral negotiations over the border began in 1977 but were ultimately fruitless, leading the Senegalese and Bissau-Guinean governments to refer the case to an independent arbitration tribunal in 1985.[1] When the findings of the tribunal were rejected by the Government of Guinea-Bissau in 1989, the case was referred to the ICJ. In April 1990, while the case was being assessed in The Hague, Senegalese troops and military aircraft were spotted operating in Bissau-Guinean territory. The following month, Bissau-Guinean forces clashed with Senegalese troops, leaving 17 soldiers dead.[2] With the dispute becoming increasingly militarised and armed forces lining up against each other along the border, the prospect of an interstate conflict was significant.

Fearing that the crisis could rapidly escalate into a major war, the Government of France invited ministers from both states to Paris for emergency talks on 23 May 1990.[3] This meeting served to immediately defuse tensions, and the following day Guinea-Bissau and Senegal withdrew their armed forces from their mutual border to minimise the risk of future clashes. On 12 November 1991, the ICJ issued its judgement on the dispute, dismissing Guinea-Bissau’s appeal and affirming Senegal’s sovereignty over the disputed maritime territory. This time, the findings were accepted by both parties. Since the settlement, bilateral ties have improved and the states now cooperate in several fields, including the development of maritime resources. While the land border remains a cause of tension given relatively frequent incursions by Senegalese forces pursuing militants from Casamance (including in 2000 and 2009), improved ties between the two governments and the mechanisms established to resolve the maritime boundary dispute (such as a joint border commission) have prevented any major escalation.[4]

[1] Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood. “The Guinea-Bissau – Senegal maritime boundary dispute” Marine Policy, Vol. 61, No. 1. (2015) p.286

[2] AP News. “Senegal, Guinea Bissau Agree to Pull Back Troops in Dispute.” AP News. (24 May 1990) Available at: https://apnews.com/article/b54afe1f80c0bc585c51ea797e43a16b (Accessed 25/10/2021)

[3] UK Parliament. “Senegal/Guinea Bissau Dispute.” Hansard: House of Lords, Vol. 520. (1990) Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/1990-06-12/debates/d1bccdba-220f-4376-bfcf-d1f876f4635a/SenegalGuineaBissauDispute (Accessed 25/10/2021)

[4] Reuters Staff. “Senegal, Bissau deny border dispute.” Reuters. (24 October 2009) Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/ozatp-bissau-senegal-border-idAFJOE59N02U20091024 (Accessed 25/10/2021)

 

 

 

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Reducing Conflict And Building Stability On The Burundi-Tanzania Border

Reducing Conflict And Building Stability On The Burundi-Tanzania Border

Year(s): 2017 – 2019.

Location: Burundi/Tanzania International Border.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Risk of Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict, Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Stabilising borders. 

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The UN.

Impact: Limited.

Summary: The UN has helped to manage conflict and instability along the international border between Burundi and Tanzania, reducing the likelihood of armed conflict between communities and minimising the risk of an interstate conflict.

Description of Case 

The border between Burundi and Tanzania has represented a source of conflict for decades, with hundreds of thousands of Burundian refugees crossing into Tanzania during periods of unrest and rebel forces using Tanzanian territory to stage attacks on the Burundian administration.[1] In 1997, the armed forces of each state engaged each other along the frontier in a series of clashes that cost the lives of dozens of people.[2] The announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for an unconstitutional third term in 2015 sparked unrest across Burundi, driving over 400,000 people from their homes, half of whom fled across the border to Tanzania.[3] The persistence and sheer scale of cross-border displacement represents a source of contention between the governments of each state and has a profound impact on the livelihoods of the population living near the border.[4] A key concern highlighted by the UN was the potential for refugees returning to Burundi to ‘risk aggravating existing tensions and causing renewed violence in a country where the rule of law and the judicial system are considerably weakened,’ particularly when much of the land in Burundi is contested.[5]

Recognising the potential for conflict, the UN Peacebuilding Fund developed a project to build peace and stability in the area in 2017. Based on input from UN Development Programme, the International Organisation for Migration, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, the project aimed to mitigate conflict and instability associated with forced displacement and provide protection for displaced persons.[6] The focus of the project was to build the capacity of border officials from both states in areas such as protective border management and human rights. In addition, joint trainings were carried out with officials from both states to improve cooperation. The project also worked with displaced persons, returnees, and host communities to ensure socio-economic opportunities were available for all, and embedded conflict resolution mechanisms (alternative dispute resolution, paralegal, mediation, counselling, and referral services) to ensure disputes within and between the communities remained peaceful.[7] An independent evaluation found the conflict prevention aspects of the project to be the most successful and recommends its expansion.[8]

 

[1] Howard Wolpe. “Making Peace After Genocide: Anatomy of the Burundi Process.” Peaceworks, No. 70. (2011) p.21

[2] Moyiga Nduru. “BURUNDI-TANZANIA: Border Clash.” Inter Press Service. (1997) Available at: http://www.ipsnews.net/1997/10/burundi-tanzania-border-clash/ (Accessed 24/11/2020)

[3] Christian Bugnion de Moreta. Final Independent Evaluation of the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) project entitled: Preventing conflict and building peace through addressing the drivers of conflict and instability associated with forced displacement between Burundi and Tanzania. (UNDP, 2019) p.10

[4] Jaclynn Ashly. “Burundian refugees fear a hostile Tanzania.” New Frame. (2020) Available at: https://www.newframe.com/burundian-refugees-fear-a-hostile-tanzania/ (Accessed 24/11/2020)

[5] UN Peacebuilding Support Office. Preventing conflict and building peace through addressing the drivers of conflict and instability associated with forced displacement between Burundi and Tanzania. (UN, 2018) Available at: https://open.undp.org/projects/00109331 (Accessed 24/11/2020)

[6] UNDP. Preventing Conflict And Building Peace. (UNDP, 2020) Available at: https://open.undp.org/projects/00109331 (Accessed 24/11/2020)

[7] UN Peacebuilding Support Office. Preventing conflict and building peace through addressing the drivers of conflict and instability associated with forced displacement between Burundi and Tanzania. pp.46-7

[8] Christian Bugnion de Moreta. Final Independent Evaluation of the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) project entitled: Preventing conflict and building peace through addressing the drivers of conflict and instability associated with forced displacement between Burundi and Tanzania. p.32

Categories
War Prevention Case Studies

Reducing Armed Conflict On The Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso International Border

Reducing Armed Conflict On The Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso International Border

Year(s): 2017 – present.

Location: Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso International Border.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict, Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Mediation of a peace agreement and stabilising international borders.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

Impact: Limited.

Summary: The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue has worked with the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to reduce armed conflict in the frontier region where their respective international borders meet.

Description of Case 

The eruption of renewed armed conflict in Mali in 2012, the subsequent collapse of state authority over parts of the country, and the preponderance of small arms in the region led to the emergence of a broad spectrum of armed groups in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Some were radical Islamic groups with ties to international networks, some were the various predominantly Tuareg factions of the Azawad independence movement, while others still were local self-defence militias established by communities at risk.[1] In the context of pervasive instability, many of these armed groups made use of the porous and unsecured borders to their advantage. Radical Islamic groups, for example, used rear bases in territory they controlled in Mali to launch attacks against the Nigerien armed forces. In response, desperate politicians have armed and empowered a growing number of militia groups, who in turn often develop predatory behaviour, preying on local populations and employing violence to extract benefits from the government.[2] This cycle left local communities mired in violence, hindered the delivery of basic services, and placed increasing pressure on resources in this frontier region. Although the national governments of all three states currently coordinate their efforts and enjoy good relations, the sheer scale of cross-border violence poses a constant risk of an incident triggering a severe diplomatic incident, or even an interstate conflict should the administration of one state or another change significantly.

Recognising the risks that pervasive border instability represented, the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger invited the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) to help them reduce conflict and tension in the region on the border of the three countries in 2017. The following year, HD put in motion a tripartite mediation process involving armed groups that had not yet signed up to the ongoing national peace process embodied in the 2015 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali (excluding radical Islamic groups), along with representatives from their communities of origin and officials from their respective states.[3] These efforts resulted in the signing of five peace agreements between communities in the area in 2018 and 2019, reducing the incidence of armed conflict in the area. In addition, HD continues to work with the state institutions of the three countries to ensure their conflict management efforts are harmonised and as effective as they can be.[4] The Government of France has dispersed over £55 million in emergency funds as part of the “Three Borders” project, which represents a concerted effort to improve access to water and other resources in the region.[5] Although Mali continues to face armed conflict, these efforts have helped to stabilise the frontier region between Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

 

[1] UCDP. Mali. (UCDP, 2022) Available at: https://ucdp.uu.se/country/432 (Accessed 27/01/2022)

[2] International Crisis Group. “The Niger-Mali Border: Subordinating Military Action to a Political Strategy.” ICG Report, No. 261. (2018) Available at: https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/west-africa/mali/261-frontiere-niger-mali-mettre-loutil-militaire-au-service-dune-approche-politique (Accessed 27/01/2022)

[3] Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. “Mediation in the border regions of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.” Activities. (HD, 2022) Available at: https://www.hdcentre.org/activities/mediation-in-the-border-regions-of-mali-burkina-faso-and-niger/ (Accessed 27/01/2022)

[4] Ibid.

[5] Agence Française de Développement. Emergency Development Programme: “Three Borders” Project in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. (Paris: AFD, 2019) pp.1-2