Published in July 2018.
This module is a resource for lecturers
Exercises and case studies
This section contains suggestions for in-class or pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.
The exercises in this section are most appropriate for classes of up to 50 students, where students can be easily organized into small groups in which they discuss cases or conduct activities before group representatives provide feedback to the entire class. Although it is possible to have the same small group structure in large classes comprising a few hundred students, it is more challenging and the lecturer might wish to adapt the facilitation techniques to ensure sufficient time for group discussions as well as providing feedback to the entire class. The easiest way to deal with the requirement for small group discussion in a large class is to ask students to discuss the issues with the four or five students sitting close to them. Given time limitations, not all groups will be able to provide feedback in each exercise. It is recommended that the lecturer makes random selections and tries to ensure that all groups get the opportunity to provide feedback at least once during the session. If time permits, the lecturer could facilitate a discussion in plenary after each group has provided feedback.
All exercises in this section are appropriate for both graduate and undergraduate students. However, as students' prior knowledge and exposure to these issues varies widely, decisions about appropriateness of exercises should be based on their educational and social context.
Exercise 1: Compare African, inter-American and European jurisprudence on counter-terrorism
Identify one right that is commonly violated by States in the context of their criminal justice responses (e.g., through arbitrary arrest, being tortured or ill-treated during police interrogations to obtain confessions, absence of due process during criminal trial proceedings). Look up the case law databases of the different regional human rights enforcement mechanisms covered in this Module to identify how each of them approaches (alleged) violations of these rights. Compare and contrast their approaches to identify similarities and differences. Where differences exist, why do you think this is the case? Are such differences beneficial and, if so, to whom? Prepare a short presentation of, e.g., five minutes to share your findings with your class (e.g. at the start of the next class).
- African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
- African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights
- Inter-American Court on Human Rights
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
- European Court of Human Rights
Exercise 2: Comparative research (jigsaw technique) (see Teaching Guide)
Assign students into regional organization (i.e. jigsaw) groups. E.g., for a class size of 15-20, split the class into three groups representing the African Union, Organization of American States, and Europe (Council of Europe/European Union) (or whatever combination of regional organizations best fits your learning outcomes).
Q1. What are the regional counter-terrorism priorities? (e.g. nature of the threat, terrorist groups).
Q2. What are three principal strengths of existing regional counter-terrorism approaches and mechanisms, which facilitate the realization of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy goals?
Q3. What are three principal weaknesses of existing regional counter-terrorism approaches and mechanisms, which hinder the realization of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy goals?
Case study 1: African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) *
The key role to be played by regional organizations in global counter-terrorism efforts is a recurring feature, underpinning the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and often stated in United Nations outputs such as Security Council resolutions. This case study demonstrates, however, the difficulties that regional organizations can face in seeking to fulfil this role, including in terms of securing the requisite levels of national, regional and international cooperation for their missions to be effective.
In 2006, the al Qaeda affiliated group al Shabaab, accused of significant human rights violations, rose from being a fringe movement to becoming a dominant force in Somalia. In response, on 20 February 2007, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1744 (S/RES/1744 (2007)) authorizing the African Union to create and deploy a peacekeeping mission with an initial mandate of six months. Its principal aim was to assist the Federal Government in Somalia to stabilize the country and foster political dialogue and reconciliation. AMISOM was created, comprising six contributing nations operating under the authority of the African Union. It was deployed to Mogadishu in March 2007, initially supported by the United States of America.
In January 2009, the Security Council passed Resolution 1863 (2009), which established a logistics support package that transferred the majority of logistical support tasks to the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA). The troop cap was further expanded, and its mandate extended in February 2012 following Resolution 2036 (2012).
By 2013, AMISOM, Somalian and regional forces had succeeded in forcing al Shabaab out of major cities. Despite this, the terrorist group continued to operate in towns and villages in the countryside where it managed to regroup, plan and continue to execute attacks against civilians and the Government. In November 2013, the Security Council approved to expand AMISOM since they remained overstretched. The temporary expansion was designed to give the Somali Government the opportunity to re-establish State authority and rebuild security forces for the eventual withdrawal of AMISOM and a take-over in the fight against al Shabaab. The Somali Government has yet to reach capacity to take on and fulfill this role. Following the expansion, in 2014, various successful missions saw security conditions in Somalia improve. However, continued attacks by al Shabaab exposed coordination difficulties among AMISOM and its contingents.
AMISOM is currently overstretched and its forces struggle to maintain control of South-Central Somalia. Furthermore, it lacks the critical military aviation units and rapid reaction forces that other multinational forces have. There are also issues with the command structure and coordination of response between the countries that make up AMISOM. The Somali Government has further indicated that AMISOM struggles to hold onto and establish presence in regained territories. Compounding the issue is the increasing suspicion towards peacekeepers and their respective nations' interests in Somali affairs.
In March 2016, the African Union-United Nations working group was established to develop options for improving the effectiveness of AMISOM operations and securing funding. Reductions of funding from the European Union and the withdrawal of the nearly 4,000 strong Ethiopian troops in 2016 has significantly reduced the operational ability of AMISOM. Since then, al Shabaab has successfully retaken a number of towns across south and central Somalia. In 2017, the African Union made the decision to fully withdraw its peacekeeping forces from Somalia by 2020. One of the determining factors for this is that it was estimated in 2016 that between 1,000 to 2,000 AMISOM troops had been killed during these peacekeeping operations.
The inability of the Somali Government to develop the National Army to the extent necessary to take an effective lead against al Shabaab may result in the withdrawal threatening the establishment of State authority in the fight against al Shabaab.
* John Aglionby (2016). " Resurgent al-Shabaab puts African Union force on back foot." Financial Times, 10 March.
* Global Security. African Union Mission in Somalia.