International Relations Sanctions in International Law
by
Boris Kondoch
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 September 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0191

Introduction

After the end of the Cold War, sanctions have become an increasingly popular instrument of foreign policy. Since 1990, the United Nations Security Council has applied sanctions with varying degree of success, among others, against Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Libya, North Korea, Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Angola, Sudan, and Yugoslavia. Prior to the end of the Cold War, the Security Council only imposed sanctions against South Africa (1962–1994) and against Southern Rhodesia (1965–1979). As of 2016 there are currently fifteen sanction regimes adopted by the Security Council in place. The latest set of sanctions has been adopted by Security Council resolution 2270 in March 2016 against the DPRK; after North Korea’s fourth nuclear test. UN sanction regimes serve broadly five different objectives: (1) conflict resolution; (2) the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; (3) counter terrorism; (4) democratization; and (5) the protection of civilians. While sanctions were originally more comprehensive in nature, nowadays they are generally targeted. Targeted––sometimes called smart sanctions––are directed against states, but also at nongovernmental entities and even specific individuals. Sanctions may be analyzed from different angles. Scholars address the historical, economic, ethical, political, and legal aspects of sanctions. Questions frequently asked concern the effectiveness, objectives, and strategies behind sanction regimes, and how sanctions are implemented and complied with. There is in general a plethora of academic literature on sanctions. The following research guide therefore focuses on sanctions from the perspective of international law. This review mainly deals with sanctions decided by international organizations.

General Overviews

As explained by Farrall 2007 there is no commonly agreed definition of sanctions under international law. Abi-Saab in Gowlland-Debbas 2001 defines sanctions as “coercive measures taken in execution of a decision of a competent social organ, i.e., an organ legally empowered to act in the name of the society or community that is governed by the legal system.” Although unilateral measures taken by states including the suspension of diplomatic relations or restrictions on trade are sometimes labeled as sanctions, there appears to be a common understanding that the term refers to multilateral measures adopted by states through the United Nations or another international organization. The legal framework regulating sanctions may be found in the law of international organizations, general international law, and national law. International lawyers have focused, inter alia, on the following questions: the place of sanctions in the international legal system, which has been broadly discussed in Gowlland-Debbas 2001; the legal limitations upon sanction regimes; the relationship between international human rights law and sanctions; the relationship between international humanitarian law and sanctions; legal problems concerning the implementation of sanctions under domestic law, which have been explored by Farrall 2009 and Gowlland-Debbas 2004; the judicial review of and remedies against sanctions; and the legality of countermeasures against wrongful sanctions which is addressed in Tzanakopoulos 2011. In general, sanctions have to be adopted in accordance with the constituent instrument of the international organization. Although there is no scholarly agreement on the exact scope of the substantive limits, legal limitations flow from ius cogens obligations and the principle of proportionality. O’Connell 2002 provides a comprehensive summary of the limits of sanctions. Valuable starting points for understanding the legal framework applicable to sanctions are Farrall 2007, Schmalenbach 2006, and White and Abass 2014.

  • Carneiro, Cristiane, and Dominique Elden. “Economic Sanctions, Leadership Survival, and Human Rights.” University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 30.3 (2009): 969–998.

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    The articles analyzes the causal link between economic sanctions and leadership change by taking into account four case studies: European Community against Turkey (1981–1986); Australia, New Zealand, and India against Fiji (1997–2003); United States and Japan against Pakistan (1999–2001); United Nations and The Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) against Sierra Leone (1997–2003).

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    • Farrall, Jeremy Matam. United Nations Sanctions and the Rule of Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511494352Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      The first chapters of the book summarize all UN sanctions adopted between 1966 and 2006. The major focus of the study is to explore the relationship between sanctions and the rule of law. In the final chapters, Dr. Farrall makes a number of recommendations on how to improve sanctions from a normative point of view.

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      • Farrall, Jeremy Matam, ed. Sanctions, Accountability and Governance in a Globalised World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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        This is an edited volume which explores how public law and international law intersect in the area of sanctions. The books includes chapters, among others, by leading scholars such as Erika de Wet and Simon Chesterman.

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        • Gowlland-Debbas, Vera, ed. United Nations Sanctions and International Law: Colloquium on United Nations Sanctions and International Law 1999, Genève. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2001.

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          The edited volume contains one of the most comprehensive studies on sanctions. The authors who are all imminent scholars, not only address sanctions adopted by the Security Council but also examine sanctions imposed by regional organizations, unilateral sanctions by states, and unilateral countermeasures.

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          • Gowlland-Debbas, Vera, ed. National Implementation of United Nations Sanctions. Leiden, The Netherlands: Nijhoff, 2004.

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            Another edited volume by one of the leading international law experts on sanctions, Vera Gowlland Debbas. The volume examines the implementation of UN sanctions in sixteen different countries.

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            • O’Connell, Mary Ellen. “Debating the Law of Sanctions.” European Journal of International Law 13.1 (2002): 63–79.

              DOI: 10.1093/ejil/13.1.63Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Mary Ellen O’Connell provides an overview on the shifting debate among international lawyers beginning with the ultra vires debate in 1965 to the effectiveness debate in 1990 and the humanitarian impact debate in 1995 after the imposition of sanctions against Haiti and Iraq.

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              • Schmalenbach, Kirsten. “International Organizations or Institutions, Supervision and Sanctions.” In Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. Vol. 3. Edited by Rüdiger Wolfrum. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                Looks at key issues of supervision and sanctions in regard to international organizations. Although there has been improvement with regard to the effectiveness and flexibility of targeted sanctions in recent years, Professor Schmalenbach points out that “some crucial issues . . . remain unresolved, eg human rights protection, the limitation of unintended side effects, as well as the improvement of national capacities and the infrastructure required for steady and uniform sanction implementation.”

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                • Tzanakopoulos, Antonios. Disobeying the Security Council. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

                  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600762.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  An important study addressing the legal responsibility of the United Nations for wrongful sanctions and how state’s disobedience toward UN’s sanctions should be viewed from the perspective of international law.

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                  • White, Nigel D., and Ademola Abass. “Countermeasures and Sanctions.” In International Law. 4th ed. Edited by Malcolm Evans, 537–562. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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                    Argue that non-military sanctions adopted by the Security Council under Chapter VII are compatible with international law but subject to the limitations of human rights and proportionality. One of the best overviews on the subject.

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                    UN Sanctions

                    The UN Charter does not define the term “sanctions,” but sanctions are cited as measures that the Security Council may take under Chapter VII against a state in order to restore or maintain international peace and security. Such measures may not include the use of armed force but may include the interruption of economic relations and communications as well as the severance of diplomatic relations. Economic sanctions are the most contentious types. Examples include selective or comprehensive bans on trade, a prohibition on some or all capital and service transactions with the government or nationals of the offending country, an interdiction of transport and communication, and a freezing of assets. In her thoughtful study, Starck 2000 analyzes the sanction regimes imposed against Iraq and Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Economic sanctions based on Chapter VII are also distinct from economic sanctions recommended by the Security Council or the General Assembly that are not binding on UN members states. Unlike individual sanctions, measures taken under Article 41 of the UN Charter by the Security Council are mandatory, that is, implementation is not left to members’ discretion since member states have an obligation under Article 25 of the UN Charter to implement the Security Council decisions. The power of the Security Council to impose sanctions rests upon Article 41 of the UN Charter. Before adopting measures under Article 41, the Security Council must have determined in accordance with Article 39 of the UN Charter “the existence of any threat to the peace or breach of peace, or an act of aggression” and make recommendations or decide what measures are to be taken “to maintain or restore international peace and security.” As Reisman and Stevick 1998 explain legal limitations to UN sanctions can be derived from international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and the principle of proportionality. Simma 2013 which is the major commentary on the United Nations Charter does not only provide a comprehensive overview on the powers of the Security Council but also examines the limits of economic sanctions. Complex legal issues which are discussed by Fink 2013 may also be derived from maritime embargo operations implementing economic sanctions. Excellent case studies are Kuyper 1978 and Calamita 2009.

                    • Boisson de Chazournes, Laurence. “Collective Security and the Economic Interventionism of the UN.” Journal of International Economic Law 10.1 (2007): 51–86.

                      DOI: 10.1093/jiel/jgl040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      The author argues, among others, that UN sanction regimes should be analyzed under international economic law considering not only the impact on the economic system of the targeted state and third state but also the long-term impact.

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                      • Calamita, N. Jansen. “Sanctions, Countermeasures, and the Iranian Nuclear Issue.” Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 42.5 (2009): 1393–1442.

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                        A detailed analysis of the counter-measures and the sanctions regime imposed against Iran because of its nuclear development program.

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                        • Fink, M. D. “Maritime Embargo Operations: Naval Implementation of UN Sanctions at Sea under Articles 41 and 42 of the UN Charter.” Netherlands International Law Review 60.1 (2013): 73–92.

                          DOI: 10.1017/S0165070X12001040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          This is a unique article which discusses the legality of maritime embargo operations implementing sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council.

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                          • Genugten, Wilhelmus J. van, ed. United Nations Sanctions. Antwerp, Belgium: Intersentia, 1999.

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                            Issues related to sanctions are analyzed from the perspective of various disciplines: economics, political science, sociology, international law, development studies, and ethics.

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                            • Kuyper, Pieter Jan. The Implementation of International Sanctions: The Netherlands and Rhodesia. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Sijthoff & Noordhoff, 1978.

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                              Case study on the Netherlands’ participation in the UN sanctions regime imposed on Rhodesia.

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                              • Reinisch, August. “Developing Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Accountability of the Security Council for the Imposition of Economic Sanctions.” American Journal of International Law 95.4 (2001): 851–872.

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                                The author assesses the legality of sanctions adopted by the Security Council and discusses remedies for victims of UN sanctions. He concludes, among others findings, that the existing judicial and quasi-judicial mechanism are not only largely unavailable but often inadequate.

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                                • Reisman, W. Michael, and Douglas L. Stevick. “The Applicability of International Law Standards to United Nations Economic Sanctions Programmes.” European Journal of International Law 9.1 (1998): 86–141.

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                                  Often quoted article providing a legal framework on how to analyze UN sanctions. The authors propose five legal principles to be applied to sanction regimes: necessity; proportionality; the principle to maximize discrimination; periodical assessment; and that relief should be provided to injured third parties.

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                                  • Simma, Bruno, ed. The Charter of the United Nations. 3d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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                                    This well known commentary on the UN Charter contains several sections relevant within the context of UN sanctions (see for example, the commentaries on Articles 25, 39–41, and 103 of the UN Charter).

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                                    • Starck, Dorothee. Die Rechtmäßigkeit von UNO-Wirtschaftssanktionen in Anbetracht ihrer Auswirkungen auf die Zivilbevölkerung. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2000.

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                                      Probably the best study on sanctions in the German language. The author provides a legal framework for assessing the legality of UN sanctions by analyzing the cases of Iraq and Yugoslavia.

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                                      Non-UN Sanction Regimes

                                      The UN is not the only organization adopting sanctions. In general, sanctions adopted by international organizations have to be adopted in compliance with their constituent instruments (see, for example, Article 16 Covenant of the League of Nations; Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union; Articles 23 and 30 AU Constitutive Act; Article 45 ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance). While Cameron 2013 provides an excellent overview on EU sanctions in general, Dupont 2012 critically evaluates EU sanctions adopted against Iran.

                                      • Cameron, Iain, ed. EU Sanctions: Law and Policy Issues Concerning Restrictive Measures. Cambridge, UK: Intersentia, 2013.

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                                        This is a recent collection of essays, written by imminent scholars dealing with different legal aspects of EU sanctions.

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                                        • Dupont, Pierre-Emmanuel. “Countermeasures and Collective Security: The Case of the EU Sanctions against Iran.” Journal Conflict & Security Law 17.3 (2012): 301–336.

                                          DOI: 10.1093/jcsl/krs020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          An examination of the relationship between countermeasures and the collective security system of the United Nations by looking at the economic measures taken by the EU member states against Iran.

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                                          International Human Rights Law

                                          It has been argued that the Security Council can act above international law and therefore no legal limitations exist on measures adopted by it under Chapter VII. This interpretation is based on the wording of Articles 103 and 25 of the UN Charter. Specifically, Article 103 states that “in the event of a conflict between the obligation of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligation under any other international agreement, their obligation under the present Charter shall prevail.” According to Article 25 of the UN Charter, the UN Members “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the Charter.” However, this interpretation cannot be accepted for the following reasons. No international treaty explicitly deals with the issue of the legal limits of economic sanctions. There is nonetheless a scholarly consensus that the non-derogable provisions of human rights law demarcate the limits of the permissibility of sanctions. Examples include de Wet 2001, López-Jacoiste Díaz 2010, and Thallinger 2007 who examine UN sanctions and their compability with human rights law. In his groundbreaking study on human rights and the United Nations, Verdirame 2013 also deals with the application of human rights law to sanctions.

                                          • de Wet, Erika. “Human Rights Limitations to Economic Enforcement Measures under Article 41 of the United Nations Charter and the Iraqi Sanctions Regime.” Leiden Journal of International Law 14.2 (2001): 277–300.

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                                            Reflects on the question of whether and to what extent the Security Council may impose limitations of human rights when adopting sanctions.

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                                            • Fassbender, Bardo, ed. Securing Human Rights? Achievements and Challenges of the UN Security Council. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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                                              Three contributions to this book, which are based on lectures delivered at the Academy of European Law in Florence, deal with sanctions (see the chapters by Annalisa Ciampi, Erika de Wet, and Salvatore Zappalà).

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                                              • López-Jacoiste Díaz, Eugenia. “The UN Collective Security System and its Relationship with Economic Sanctions and Human Rights.” Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 14 (2010): 273–335.

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                                                An excellent overview of UN sanctions practice and its compatibility with international human rights standards.

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                                                • Malloy, Michael P. “Human Rights and Unintended Consequences: Empirical Analysis of International Economic Sanctions in Contemporary Practice.” Boston University International Law Journal 31.1 (2013): 75–129.

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                                                  Examines the effectiveness of sanctions imposed against Southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe; South Africa; Myanmar; and Belarus.

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                                                  • Thallinger, Gerhard. “Sense and Sensibility of the Human Rights Obligations of the United Nations Security Council.” Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 67.4 (2007): 1015–1040.

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                                                    Comprehensive study on the human rights obligations of the Security Council which also deals with targeted financial sanctions against terrorist suspects.

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                                                    • Verdirame, Guglielmo. The UN and Human Rights: Who Guards the Guardians? Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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                                                      Dr. Verdirame analyzes whether certain United Nations operations including territorial administrations, peacekeeping operations, refugee camps, and the provision of humanitarian aid are compatible with international human right standards. One chapter is also dedicated to sanctions.

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                                                      International Humanitarian Law

                                                      While international human rights law provides protection from the adverse effects of sanctions during times of peace, specific rules can be found in international humanitarian law that are relevant to UN sanction regimes imposed by the Security Council in the course of an armed conflict, for example, the prohibition on starvation, the right to humanitarian assistance, the rule of distinction and proportionality. Gasser 1996 explores the limitations established by international humanitarian law in regard to collective sanctions adopted by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. However, it should be noted that legal constraints can also be derived from human rights law even in times of an armed conflict. There are relatively few publications which specifically address sanctions and international humanitarian law. Examples are Gasser 1996 and Kondoch 2002.

                                                      • Gasser, Hans-Peter. “Collective Economic Sanctions and International Humanitarian Law.” Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 56.4 (1996): 871–904.

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                                                        Legal analysis of economic sanctions adopted in the context of an armed conflict written by the former editor-in-chief of the International Review of the Red Cross.

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                                                        • Kondoch, Boris. “The Limits of Economic Sanctions under International Law: The Case of Iraq.” International Peacekeeping: The Yearbook of Peace Operations 7 (2002): 267–294.

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                                                          Examines the compatibility of the UN sanctions regime imposed on Iraq during the 1990s with regard to international law and international humanitarian law in particular. Arguably, no other sanctions regime has been so harshly criticized than those imposed against Iraq after the second Gulf War, due to its negative impact on the Iraqi population.

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                                                          Sanctions and Terrorism

                                                          The blacklisting of individuals has been one of the controversial aspects of the so-called War on Terror. The United Nations, the European Union, as well as states designate individuals and groups allegedly connected with terrorism and impose targeted sanctions including travel bans and financial restrictions. Targeted sanctions may lead to a number of human rights violations as explained by de Wet 2013 and Eckes 2009. For example, travel bans may infringe on freedom of movement. The difficulties for listed individuals to challenge the sanctions imposed against them are widely viewed as violations of due process rights, for example, the right of access to court, the right to a fair trial, and the right to an effective remedy. There has been a number of litigations before domestic, European, and international human rights courts because of targeted sanctions against terrorist suspects. Almquist 2008, de Wet 2013, Keller and Fischer 2009, Lavranos 2009, Stenhammar 2010, and Tridimas 2008–2009 critically comment on the growing case law.

                                                          • Almquist, Jessica. “A Human Rights Critique of European Judicial Review: Counter-Terrorism Sanctions.” International and Comparative Law Quarterly 57.2 (2008): 303–331.

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                                                            A critical evaluation of the European Court of Justice’s jurisprudence on counterterrorism sanctions.

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                                                            • de Wet, Erika. “From Kadi to Nada: Judicial Techniques Favoring Human Rights over United Nations Security Council Sanctions.” Chinese Journal of International Law 12.4 (2013): 787–807.

                                                              DOI: 10.1093/chinesejil/jmt034Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Analyzes and compares the Kadi decision of the European Court of Justice of July 2013 and the Nada decision of the European Court of Human Rights of September 2013.

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                                                              • Eckes, Christina. EU Counter-Terrorist Policies and Fundamental Rights: The Case of Individual Sanctions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

                                                                DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573769.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                The focus of this monograph is on sanctions adopted against individuals. The author stresses the importance of independent judicial review and procedural protection in the context of counterterrorist policies.

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                                                                • Keller, Helen, and Andreas Fischer. “The UN Anti-Terror Sanctions Regime under Pressure.” Human Rights Law Review 9.2 (2009): 257–266.

                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/hrlr/ngp009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  This article examines the decision of the Human Rights Committee in regard to the complaint filed by Nabil Sayadi and Patricia Vinck.

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                                                                  • Kirschner, Adele J. “Security Council Resolution 1904 (2009): A Significant Step in the Evolution of the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Regime?” Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 70.3 (2010): 567–585.

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                                                                    A short but concise comment on the establishment of the ombudsperson and the amended delisting procedure.

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                                                                    • Lavranos, Nikolaos. “Judicial Review of UN Sanctions by the European Court of Justice.” Nordic Journal of International Law 78.3 (2009): 343–359.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1163/090273509X12448190941165Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      The article looks at the judicial review of UN sanctions by the European Court of Justice. Dr. Lavranos discusses, inter alia, the legal basis of EU sanctions and the relationship between the European Community and international legal order.

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                                                                      • Stenhammar, Fredrik. “United Nations Targeted Sanctions, the International Rule of Law and the European Court of Justice’s Judgment in Kadi and al-Barakaat.” Nordic Journal of International Law 79.1 (2010): 113–140.

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                                                                        Another article on the famous Kadi and al-Barakaat case. The author argues, among others, that targeted sanctions which take the form of blacklisting and freezing of financial assets may be viewed as lawful under applicable international law as a species of economic warfare.

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                                                                        • Tridimas, Takis. “EU Law, International Law, and Economic Sanctions against Terrorism.” Fordham International Law Journal 32.2 (2008–2009): 660–730.

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                                                                          This article examines the relationship between EU law, international law, and the protection of fundamental rights in the context of judgments by the European Court of Justice concerning the application of economic sanctions against individuals.

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                                                                          • Tzanakopoulos, Antonios. “United Nations Sanctions in Domestic Courts.” Journal of International Criminal Justice 8.1 (2010): 249–267.

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                                                                            In this article, the author critically evaluates the decision by the Canadian Federal Court in the case of Abdelrazik v. Canada case. In order to address fundamental human rights concerns, Tzanakopoulos suggests introducing (quasi-) judicial procedures or “a provision to the effect that successful challenge of the listing in domestic court should result in de-listing at the UN level.”

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                                                                            • Willis, Grant L. “Security Council Targeted Sanctions, Due Process and the 1267 Ombudsperson.” Georgetown Journal of International Law 42.3 (2011): 673–745.

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                                                                              The author examines the due process rights of targeted individuals and the functions and powers of ombudsperson established by Security Council Resolution 1267.

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                                                                              Sanctions Regimes and International Courts

                                                                              In recent years, there has been an increase in sanctions-related litigation. A number of cases brought before the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, including Bosphorus Hava Yollari Turizim ve Ticaret AS v. Ireland, Bosphorus Hava Yollari Turizim ve Ticaret AS v. Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications, and Others, Yassin Abdulla Kadi v. Council of the European Union and Commission of the European Communities, Nada v. Switzerland, and Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d’Iran (OMPI) v. Council of the European Union, have raised complex legal issues in regard to targeted sanctions adopted by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The leading case is arguably the Kadi judgment. Kadi was a milestone in challenging the legality and legitimacy of UN and EU blacklisting regimes.

                                                                              • Bosphorus Hava Yollari Turizim ve Ticaret AS v. Ireland. Np. 45036/98, 13 September 2001.

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                                                                                The European Court of Human Rights held that there had been no violation of the right to property when Ireland complied with its legal obligation under EU law which implemented UN sanctions.

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                                                                                • Bosphorus Hava Yollari Turizim ve Ticaret AS v. Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications, and Others. European Court of Justice. Case C-84/95, ECR 3953, 30 July 1996.

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                                                                                  The European Court of Justice held that the seizure of an aircraft owned by the Yugoslav National Airlines and leased by the Turkish airline charter company Bosphorus Hava Yollari Turizim ve Ticaret AS was not disproportionate and did not violate the right to property as protected in Community law.

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                                                                                  • Nada v. Switzerland, Appl. No. 10593/08, ECtHR, Judgment, Grand Chamber, 12 September 2012.

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                                                                                    The European Court of Human Rights found that the entry and transit ban as implemented by Switzerland infringed Mr. Nada’s right to private and family life. Furthermore, the ECtHR found that the lack of review mechanism able or willing to examine the substance of Mr. Nada’s allegations as a violation of his right to effective remedy under the European Convention on Human Rights.

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                                                                                    • Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d’Iran (OMPI) v. Council of the European Union. T-228/02, ECR II-4665, 2006 (OMPI I case).

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                                                                                      The European Court of First Instance (General Court) (CFI) found that the requirements of the right to a hearing, the duty to give reasons, and the right to judicial protection had been breached.

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                                                                                      • People’s Modjahedines of Iran v. Council of the European Union. T-284/08, ECR II-3487, 2008.

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                                                                                        The European Court of First Instance annulled the Council’s decision and reiterated that the Council must provide “actual and specific reasons” why a person has been included in the list (para. 81).

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                                                                                        • UN Human Rights Committee. Nabil Sayadi and Patricia Vinck v. Belgium, Views. Communication No. 1472/2006, 29 December 2008.

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                                                                                          The Human Rights Committee held Belgium in breach of the applicants’ freedom of movement according to Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and an unlawful attack against the applicants’ honor and reputation according to Article 17 ICCPR.

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                                                                                          • Yassin Abdulla Kadi v. Council of the European Union and Commission of the European Communities. Case T-315/01, ECR II-3649, 21 September 2005.

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                                                                                            The Court of First Instance (now the General Court) viewed Mr. Kadi’s listening to be immune from judicial scrutiny by affirming the primacy of the UN Charter over the Community law (para. 215).

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                                                                                            • Yassin Abdulla Kadi and Al Barakaat International Foundation v. Council of the European Union and Commission of the European Communities. Cases C-402/05 P and C-415/05 P, ECR 1–6351, 3 September 2008.

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                                                                                              In the Kadi judgment of 2008 the European Court of Justice (CJEU) held that the incorporation of obligations of Security Council resolution 1267 by the European Union violated the principle of effective judicial protection, the right of defense, and the right to be heard. The CJEU annulled the regulation. Another important aspect of the judgment was that the court viewed exclusively European law as the governing principles for the review of European measures implementing UN Security Council resolutions.

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                                                                                              • Yassin Abdulla Kadi v. Commission of the European Communities. Case T-85/09, 30 September 2010.

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                                                                                                Following the 2008 judgment, the Commission sent a summary of reasons provided by Sanctions Committee to Mr. Kadi and adopted a new regulation maintaining the freeze of Mr. Kadi’s assets. In response, Mr. Kadi brought his case to the General Court which annulled the regulation. According to the General Court, the regulation was a violation of Mr. Kadi’s right of defense and his right to property.

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                                                                                                • Yassin Abdulla Kadi v. Commission of the European Communities and Commission of the European Communities. Cases C-584/10 P, C- 593/10 P and C-595/10 P, 18 July 2013.

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                                                                                                  In 2013, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) dismissed the appeal of the European Commission, the Council and the United Kingdom against General Court’s Kadi judgment of 2010. The CJEU held that the European Union may not impose restrictive measures without evidence to substantiate Mr. Kadi’s involvement in terrorist activities.

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                                                                                                  Sanction Regimes and Domestic Courts

                                                                                                  Legal challenges to sanction regimes have also been addressed by domestic courts in Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Cases include, inter alia, the cases of Abousfian Abdelrazik v. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General of Canada, Hay v. HM Treasury and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and Youssef Mustapha Nada gegen SECO, Staatsekretariat für Wirtschaft.

                                                                                                  • Abousfian Abdelrazik v. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General of Canada, FC 580, 2009 (Federal Court of Canada).

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                                                                                                    In the Abousfian Abdelrazik case, the Canadian Federal Court held that Canada had violated Mr Abdelrazik’s right to return under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms although he was subject to UN sanctions. The court compared the treatment of a person under a UN sanctions regime with that of “Josef K. in Kafka’s The Trial, who awakens one morning and, for reasons never revealed to him or the reader, is arrested or prosecuted for a unspecified crime.”

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                                                                                                    • Hay v. HM Treasury and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. EWHC 1677 (Admin), 2009.

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                                                                                                      The Queen’s Bench Division of the English High Court quashed the domestic measures implementing UN sanctions.

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                                                                                                      • HM Treasury (Respondents) v. Mohammed Jabar Ahmed and Others (FC) (Appellants). UKSC 2 and 5, 27 January 2010.

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                                                                                                        The UK Supreme Court followed the approach taken by the High Court in Hay and unanimously held that Terrorism Order (United Nations Measures) 2009 was ultra vires.

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                                                                                                        • Youssef Mustapha Nada gegen SECO, Staatsekretariat für Wirtschaft, 1A.45/2007/daa (Swiss Federal Court), 14 November 2007.

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                                                                                                          Mr. Nada was listed by the Al Qaida sanctions committee according to Security Council resolution 1267. The Swiss Federal Court held that because Switzerland is a party to the United Nations, it is bound to accept and implement the obligations laid down in the UN Charter, including Security Council resolutions (para. 5).

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                                                                                                          US Sanctions

                                                                                                          The United States has frequently used sanctions as an instrument of foreign policy. One pillar of US sanctions concerns the non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and it adopted sanctions, inter alia, against Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Taiwan. Another target of US sanctions is directed against states in support of international terrorism including Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. From a legal point of view “US economic sanctions consist of a complex web of laws and regulations that can be nuanced and opaque,” as pointed out by Rathbone, et al. 2013. Balan 2013, Carter and Farha 2013, and Kurth 2011 discuss case studies on US sanctions imposed against Iran and Syria.

                                                                                                          • Balan, George-Dian. “The Latest United States Sanctions Against Iran: What Role to the WTO Security Exceptions?” Journal of Conflict & Security Law 18.3 (2013): 365–393.

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                                                                                                            An examination of US sanctions against Iran. The author explores issues, among others, whether a World Trade Organization (WTO) member can justify economic sanctions in excess of the UN mandate.

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                                                                                                            • Carter, Barry E., and Ryan Farha. “Overview and Operation of U.S. Financial Sanctions, Including the Example of Iran.” Georgetown Journal of International Law 44.3 (2013): 903–913.

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                                                                                                              This article analyzes how US financial sanctions operate.

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                                                                                                              • Chuang, Janie. “The United States as Global Sheriff: Using Unilateral Sanctions to Combat Human Trafficking.” Michigan Journal of International Law 27.2 (2005–2006): 437–494.

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                                                                                                                A unique article on the application of unilateral sanctions by the United States in response to human trafficking.

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                                                                                                                • Kurth, Alison N. “Rethinking the Syria Accountability Act: Are Sanctions on Syria in the Best Interest of the United States.” Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems 20.1 (2011): 239–277.

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                                                                                                                  An analysis of US sanctions on Syria. The author argues that sanctions imposed against Syria are not in the best interest of US foreign policy.

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                                                                                                                  • Malloy, Michael P. United States Economic Sanctions: Theory and Practice. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2001.

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                                                                                                                    Discusses the historical use and legal authority as well as the effectiveness of sanctions as an instrument of US foreign and economic policy.

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                                                                                                                    • Owen, Mallory. “The Limits of Economic Sanction under International Humanitarian Law: The Case of the Congo.” Texas International Law Journal 48.1 (2012): 103–123.

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                                                                                                                      The only study on the US sanctions regime imposed on the Democratic Republic of Congo from the perspective of international humanitarian law.

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                                                                                                                      • Rathbone, Meredith, Peter Jeydel, and Amy Leydel. “Sanctions Everywhere: Forging a Path through Complex Transnational Sanctions Laws.” Georgetown Journal of International Law 44.1 (2013): 1055–1126.

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                                                                                                                        The article explains the legal complexities of US sanctions and their applicability to multinational companies.

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                                                                                                                        Selected Reports

                                                                                                                        Listed here are selected reports covering sanctions from the angle of international law. While Carisch and Rickard-Martin 2011 and Security Council Report 2013 provide a more general overview on sanctions, Cameron 2006 and Fassbender 2006 looks specifically at due process rights. Chatham House reports also cover sanctions, for example, Chatham House 2013 looks at the role of the ombudsperson.

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