By Dr Foluke Ifejola Ipinyomi, Teaching Associate (University of Bristol Law School).
This post is based on an article* in which I argue that ignoring African particularity reduces the effectiveness of the international community and almost certainly ensures that international law is never obeyed… except in cases of self-interest.
What is the International Community?
At the sight of any potential cross-border malaise – disease, conflict, terrorism – calls are made to the international community to act. Why do the calls to the international community not go through? Is there a faulty connection? Or have we run out of airtime? The answer is quite simple. We are mostly dialling a wrong number. Depending on who is making the call, calls to ‘the international community’ could be obliquely referring to all states, all humanity, the UN, the US and Europe or states with liberal democracies. This identity crisis almost always results in a lot of buck-passing. As the poem goes ‘Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.’