CYIL Vol. 7, 2016

CYIL 7 ȍ2016Ȏ ARE UNILATERAL ȍECONOMICȎ SANCTIONS REALLY IMPERMISSIBLE… International sanctions (unilateral as well as multilateral) may be imposed not only to coerce the sanctioned subject to expected behaviour, but also to restrict its possibility to act in the unaccepted or illegal way or to signalize the disagreement with the activity of the sanctioned. This idea of three possible goals of sanctions: coercing, constraining and signalling was elaborated on in depth by Francesco Giumelli, 9 and it seems that recent practice of states (imposing of weak sanctions just to communicate their opinion and disapproval of sanctioned behaviour) supports it in a persuasive way. On the other hand, sanctions usually do not have a punitive character. 10 We also should not ignore the sanctions practice of the European Union: the Union is using sanctions very often (is more active than the United Nations), but in all official documents (Council decisions, Council regulations…) these are called “restrictive measures”. The EU legal speech avoids the term “sanctions” consistently and intentionally (although it is used often in press releases, public speeches and documents explaining the sanctions policy of the EU) and so confirms and emphasizes the importance of the restrictive power of sanctions. As was mentioned above, current international law offers us no legal definition of sanctions. Anyway, we can find a link to sanctions in the UNCharter Chapter VII and the law of responsibility for internationally wrongful acts (represented mainly by the text of Draft articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts 11 published by International Law Commission in 2001). It tempts us to a conclusion that sanctions are coercive measures, a way of enforcement of international law. Of course, they are. But the coercion is not the only possible goal of sanctions. The range of instruments that states have at their disposal in international relations (diplomacy – economic statecraft – sanctions – war) is limited and that is why the same measures that are imposed by the UN and by states to react on the violation of international law may be imposed in reaction to unfriendly, disagreeable (but not illegal) behaviour. 2. Beyond the UN Charter… Let us look closer at the relation between sanctions and the UN Charter now. Looking back at the quite successful sanctions practice of the League of Nations, 12 the Security Council (as well as the Council of the League Nations before it) also was given the right to authorize and order the use of different measures by its members. Article 41 of the Charter states that: “the Security Council may decide what measures 9 GIUMELLI, F. ‘Coercing, constraining and signalling: explaining UN and EU sanctions after the Cold War’ (ECPR Press, Colchester 2011). 10 RONZITI, N. ‘Conclusion’ in N Ronzitti (ed), Coercive Diplomacy, Sanctions and International Law (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden 2016) 287. 11 ILC, ‘Report on the work of its fifty-third session’ (23 April – 1 June and 2 July-10 August 2001) UN Doc A/RES/56/83. 12 DRULÁKOVÁ, R. and ZEMANOVÁ, Š. (eds.) ‘Mezinárodní kontext české sankční politiky’ (Vydavatelství a nakladatelství Aleš Čeněk, s.r.o, Plzeň 2012) 31-35.


Made with