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The functions and powers of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union



THE ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
The Assembly is the supreme organ of the African Union; it is made up of Heads of States and Government or their duly accredited representatives. At least once a year, the Assembly once in an ordinary session, however, at the request of any Member State and on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Member States, the Assembly can meet in extraordinary session.

The Office of the Chairman of the Assembly is held for a period of one year by a Head of State or Government elected after consultations among the Member States. The Assembly takes its decisions by consensus, if for any reason, a consensus is not reached at the summit, a decision is taken by two-thirds majority of the Member States of the Union. Procedural matters, however, include the question of whether a matter is one of procedure or not, is decided by a simple majority.

To form a quorum at any meeting of the Assembly, two-Thirds of the total membership of the Union must be present. The Assembly adopts its own Rules of Procedure.

POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE ASSEMBLY
Common Polices
One of the functions of the Assembly is to determine the common policies of the Union.

Receive Reports
Another function is to receive reports from the other organs, consider the reports carefully and take decisions on them and make recommendations.

Establish Other Organs
 If it finds it necessary, the Assembly could establish any other organ of the Union.

Monitoring and Evaluation
It is the function of the Assembly to monitor the implementation of policies and decisions of the Union and to ensure member states comply with the decisions.

Adoption of Budget
It is the duty of the Assembly to approve the budget of the African Union. The Union’s budget is prepared by the Commission. Then it is discussed by the Pan-African Parliament and recommendations made thereon. Eventually, it is approved by the Assembly.

Directions to the Executive Council
It is the function of the Assembly to give directives to the Executive Council on how conflicts are managed. How war and other emergency situations are dealt with and how peace is restored.

Appointment of Chairman
The Assembly appoints the Chairman of the Commission and his or her deputy or deputies and commissioners of the Commission and determines their functions and terms of office.

Appointment of Judges
The Assembly is also to appoint all 11 judges of the African Court of Justice. It has the power to renew, as well as terminate the appointment of any of these judges.

Conflict Resolution
The Assembly is responsible for taking decides on the appropriate means of peaceful resolution of conflicts among Member States of the Union.

Intervention in a Member state
The assembly has the power the Constitutive Act to decide if the Union must intervene in a Member state under very grave circumstances such as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

Sanctions for non-compliance
Where a member state defaults in the payment of dues to the budget of the union, the Assembly determines the appropriate sanctions to be imposed on that erring Member State. Also if a member state fails to comply with the decisions and policies of the Union she may be subjected to sanctions, determined by the Assembly.

Restructure Committees
The Assembly has the constitutional power to, restructure the existing specialized committees or establish others whenever it thinks it is necessary to do so. Under the principle of delegated powers, the Assembly may empower any organ of the Union to function in its stead.

SAMPLE QUESTION
1.  Write an essay of any of the following
     a. The Assembly
     b. The Executive Council
     c. The Pan-African Parliament

2. a Describe the composition of the Assembly of the African Union.
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