ECOWAS’s Right to Intervene in Côte D’Ivoire to Install Alassane Ouattara as President-Elect

Julie Dubé Gagnon

On January 6, 2011, President-elect Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire requested the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to intervene in order to remove incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to leave power following the democratic presidential elections of November 2010.  In December 2010, ECOWAS gave a final ultimatum to Laurent Gbagbo to comply with its request on ceding his throne.  Otherwise, ECOWAS warned, it would be compelled to use legitimate force to serve the demands of the Ivorian people.  This Article ascertains the illegality of a military intervention for pro-democratic motives in light of the current post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire.  ECOWAS could not have lawfully intervened in Côte d’Ivoire in order to install Alassane Ouattara because such use of military force contravenes the U.N. Charter, and permitting such derogation would destabilize international peace and security.

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