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Legitimating International Organizations$
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Dominik Zaum

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672097

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672097.001.0001

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ECOWAS and the Legitimacy Question: A Normative and Institutional Approach

ECOWAS and the Legitimacy Question: A Normative and Institutional Approach

Chapter:
(p.88) 5 ECOWAS and the Legitimacy Question: A Normative and Institutional Approach
Source:
Legitimating International Organizations
Author(s):

Alhaji Sarjoh Bah

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672097.003.0005

This chapter examines the legitimation efforts of ECOWAS from three perspectives: norms, institutions, and compliance. It highlights how military interventions by ECOWAS to address the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s strongly challenged its legitimacy in the eyes of a number of some of its member states, not least because they were seen at odds with the traditional principle of non-intervention. It shows that this resulted in efforts by ECOWAS members to develop a new regional norm emphasising “non-indifference” over the traditional norm of “non-interference”, and the strengthening of its security architecture to enforce the principle of non-indifference and legitimise ECOWAS’s new role. Through several examples, the chapter also highlights the limits of ECOWAS’s legitimation efforts, not least the reliance on the regional hegemon, Nigeria, to provide the necessary resources to enforce ECOWAS’s decisions.

Keywords:   ECOWAS, legitimacy, legitimation, Liberia, Sierra Leone, non-indifference norm, non-interference norm, Nigeria, use of force

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