How Sovereign Is a State From Foreign Intervention? Gambia as a Case Study

Omodanisi Kemi Beatrice


This paper examines to what extent is Gambia sovereign from foreign intervention. It considers the legality or otherwise of ECOWAS’ military intervention in the recent post-election/ political crisis in Gambia. Bearing in mind that national sovereignty in international law is not absolute as International Humanitarian Law, Human Right and International Criminal Law have provided exceptions, this paper highlight situations which permit foreign intervention in a state and considers the various argument of writers on the legality/illegality of ECOWAS’ military intervention in Gambia. The paper argues that ECOWAS’ military intervention lacks the requisite authorisation of the UN Security Council who by its resolution permitted the application of political measures only. ECOWAS also failed to meet the requirement for the application of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in Gambia. More so, intervention on the basis of restoring democracy is void of legal backing as the enabling protocol permits ECOWAS to apply sanctions on member-state where democracy is abruptly brought to an end. On the whole, this paper concludes that though ECOWAS’ military intervention is justifiable in view of the situation in Gambia, it however lacked the requisite legal backing. The paper recommends that in situations where intervention is not based on humanitarian reason to necessitate the application of R2P, military intervention should have the requisite authorisation of the UN Security Council and the application of force should be the last option having exhausted all other means of dispute resolution.

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International Journal of Law and Public Administration   ISSN 2576-2192 (Print)     ISSN 2576-2184 (Online)

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