Unilateral Sanctions in International Law: A Quest for Legality

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter contends that unilateral sanctions are impermissible under international law as the UN Charter addresses only collective economic measures. Unilateral sanctions are usually imposed by an individual State that resorts to unilateral sanctions as a primary tool of foreign policy with an objective of modifying the targeted country’s behavior. These sanctions are imposed by a State through application of its national legislation, which are prima facie extraterritorial in nature and against the established principles of jurisdiction under international law. The doctrine concerning extraterritorial application of national legislation, though not well settled, endorses the basic principle of international law that all national legislations are territorial in character. Hence, the unilateral sanctions and extraterritorial application of national legislation violate the legal equality of States, and principles of respect for and dignity of national sovereignty and nonintervention in the internal affairs of the State. Application of unilateral sanctions violates basic principles of the UN Charter and certain other important legal instruments. It imposes suffering and deprivation on innocent citizens of other countries, including mass human rights violations, and deprives them of their right to development and self-determination. The Asian–African Legal Consultative Organization affirms that unilateral sanctions imposed against third parties violate the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and other principles recognized through soft law such as the right to development and the Friendly Relations Declaration.

References

  1. Alexander K (2009) Economic sanctions: law and public policy. Palgrave Macmillan, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) (2013) Unilateral and secondary sanctions: an international law perspective. AALCO Secretariat Press, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  3. Askari HG et al (2003) Economic sanctions: examining their philosophy and efficacy. Praeger Publishers, WestportGoogle Scholar
  4. Crawford J (2002) The International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility: introduction, text and commentary. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  5. Doxey M (1972) International sanctions: a framework for analysis with special reference to the UN and South Africa. Int Organ 26:527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Köchler H (1995) The United Nations sanctions policy and international law. In: Köchler H (ed) Democracy and the international rule of law: propositions for an alternative world order, selected papers published on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. Springer, Vienna and New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Kumar SS (2009) Unilateral sanctions under international law: a view from the south. In: Essays on contemporary issues in international law, Centre for Research and Training. AALCO, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  8. Schachter O (1991) International law in theory and practice. Martinus Nijhoff, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  9. Schrijver N (1994) The use of economic sanctions by the UN Security Council: an international law perspective. In: Post H (ed) International economic law and armed conflict. Martinus Nijhoff, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  10. Shaw M (2003) International law, 5th edn. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Sykes AO (1992) Constructive unilateral threats in international commercial relations: the limited Case for Section 301. Law Policy Int Bus 23:263Google Scholar
  12. Zerk J (2010) John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Working Paper No. 59: Extraterritorial jurisdiction: lessons for the business and human rights sphere from six regulatory areas. http://www.hks.harvard.edu/m-rcbg/CSRI/publications/workingpaper_59_zerk.pdf. Accessed 6 July 2014

Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asian-African Legal Consultative OrganizationNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations