n African Human Rights Law Journal - South Africa, the African Union and the responsibility to protect : the case of Libya

Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



International relations are regulated by a system of norms and laws that has evolved over a long period. The responsibility to protect is an evolving normative framework shared by a significant number of international actors, but it failed to create normative cohesion and unity of action during the Libyan crisis in 2011 due to issues of interpretation and application. The article examines the application of the responsibility to protect framework when violence broke out in Libya. Contradictory strategies by the United Nations and the African Union divided the international community and rekindled old divisions and mistrust, resulting in claims by some within the AU - South Africa particularly - that the African effort was being undermined. The international community must urgently strengthen the common understanding and institutional framework for the responsibility to protect.

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