chapter  7
An Emerging, Established or Receding Normative Agent?
Probing the African Union’s recent response to and intervention in Libya
ByGerrie Swart
Pages 23

This chapter focuses on the African Union (AU) response to the crisis in Libya in 2011. The crisis in Libya presented a direct instance of the grave circumstances the AU envisioned it had to respond to as part of Article 4(h) of the AU Constitutive Act. The AU intervention and overall response to the crisis was considered to be feeble at best and revealed considerable weaknesses in its ability to assert its normative agency on issues of critical importance in the realm of peace and security. Libya represents an ideal case study for a departure from the mere theoretical discussion and debate of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm, towards a concrete appraisal of the emerging practice and actual enforcement of the norm. The crisis in Libya arguably represented the most critical case since the establishment of the continental body in 2002 to gauge the AU's ability and political will to effectively translate its stated normative commitment into concrete action.