Problems of International Enforcement

  • Margaret P. Doxey


In national societies, the state enjoys the legal monopoly of force and a recognized system of judicial process handles charges of lawbreaking in the context of a published legal code. As a result, some may be deterred from breaking the law, while some of those who are not will be detected and prosecuted. But the incidence of success in detection, prosecution and conviction, even for petty offences, is obviously low and, as the record of implementation of US anti-trust legislation shows, there are immense difficulties in controlling corporate behaviour. Complicated and secret arrangements which circumvent or exploit loopholes in the law, skilful legal defence against charges of illegality, and vast resources which can be used without hardship to pay legal costs and fines, combine to render the law enforcement process uncertain at best against powerful corporate citizens. Coercing governments is not likely to be any easier and at the international level further problems are encountered. Members of the UN (or of other international bodies who seek to ‘enforce’ standards of behaviour) must play multiple roles as prosecutors, judges and law enforcement agencies, and must draw on their own resources in doing so.


Security Council British Government Economic Sanction South African Government International Sanction 
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Chapter 6

  1. 4.
    A. E. Highley, The First Sanctions Experiment: a study of League Procedures (1938), p. 125.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    M. Augustin Hamon’s phrase is quoted by D. Mitrany, The Problem of International Sanctions (1925), p. 39.Google Scholar
  3. 18.
    L. B. Pearson, ‘Forty Years On: Reflections on our Foreign Policy’, International journal, Vol. 22, 3 (1967), p. 359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 20.
    See L. Kapungu, The United .Nations and Economic Sanctions Against Rhodesia(1973), PP. 48–51.Google Scholar
  5. 31.
    P. J. Kuyper, The Implementation of International Sanctions: the Netherlands and Rhodesia (Sijthoff, 1978).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Institute of International Affairs 1980

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  • Margaret P. Doxey

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