The Constitutive Act gives the AU the right to intervene in a Member State in grave circumstances, namely war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. As per Article 13 of the Protocol Relating to the Establishement of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, the ASF is based on standby arrangements with Africa’s five sub-regions. 

It is composed of multidimensional capabilities, including military, police and civilian, on standby in their countries of origin and ready for rapid deployment. Thus the initial concept of the ASF was that of a quick reaction capacity that would enable Africans to respond swiftly to a crisis unhampered by any heavy political and instrumental burdens. The range of functions assigned to the ASF includes:

1. Observation and monitoring missions;
2. Other types of peace support operations;
3. Intervention in a member state in respect of grave circumstances or at the request of a member state to restore peace and security, in accordance with Article 4(h) and 4(J) of the AU Constitutive act;
4. Preventive deployment to prevent a dispute or a conflict from escalating, an ongoing violent conflict from spreading to neighboring areas or states and the resurgence of violence after parties to conflict have reached an agreement;
5. Peace building, including post conflict disarmament and demobilization;
6. Humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of civilian population in conflict areas and support efforts to address major natural disasters;
7. Any further functions as may be mandated by the PSC or the Assembly of Heads of State.

Useful Links:

Click here to download the Revised Harmonized Training Standards for Peace Support Operations


The African Union Commission is planning to conduct a field training exercise in South Africa in October/November 2015 at the climax of an ongoing training cycle known as AMANI AFRICA II which aims to develop the ASF and ensure it reaches its full operational capability by the end of the year. This field training exercise will also play a significant role in evaluating the readiness of the ASF. This follows AMANI AFRICA 1the first continental Exercise to evaluate the operational readiness of the ASF which was conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2010. Read more>>

AMANI AFRICA II which had originally been scheduled for November 2014 in Lesotho was postponed and a new host nation sought following the political and security situation in the country during that period. The Exercise will still go ahead under the auspices of SADC, after South Africa offered to host it paving the way for the implementation of the remaining activities that comprise the Exercise cycle.

Click here to find out more about AMANI AFRICA II and the upcoming field training exercise.