CYIL Vol. 7, 2016

ZUZANA TRÁVNÍČKOVÁ CYIL 7 ȍ2016Ȏ not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.“ The provision should be interpreted systematically in the light of the wider context, which means in the context of Chapter 7 of the Charter, titled Actions with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression and introduced by art 39 stating that: “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.” What does an isolated look at Chapter VII and articles 39 and 41 in particular say? 1. The measures (sanctions) may be imposed after the Security Council has determined that there is a threat to the peace or a breach of the peace or aggression. 2. The aim of the measures is to maintain and restore international peace and security. But there are still many answers we can ask… Does it mean that the threat to the peace or breach of the peace or aggression is the necessary condition for the sanctions declaration? How to qualify the situation threat to the peace or breach of the peace or aggression (the Security Council is a political, not judicial organ; the members reflect their political interest and opinion in decision-making process)? The powers of UN Security Council under Chapter are probably the strongest powers of any international organisations and they logically attract the attention of politicians and scholars. Monica Lourdes de la Serna Galvan studies the legislative role of the UN SC. In her article titled Interpretation of article 39 of the UN Charter, she analyses in depth many decisions of the organ and concludes that: “the Security Council is widening the restrictive approach taken before the Cold War to interpret ‘threat to the peace’, considering also as threats, some conflicts such as serious violations of human rights, lack of democracy and anti-terrorist interventions.” For international sanctions this means that they may be imposed in all these situations (when the majority of nine Security Council members – including all permanent members – agrees or does not disagree at least in case of permanent members). What was mentioned above should not be understood as a support for extensive interpretation of the Charter, but as an argument against a too narrow and word-for-word interpretation of the document. The UN Charter is the fundamental foundation of UN sanctions; but besides the UN there are also other relevant actors of international relations that impose sanctions. A thorough study carried out by the Peterson Institute for International Economics includes more than 100 sanction episodes from the year 1914 to 2006. 13 13 ‘Summary of economic sanctions episodes, 1914–2006’ Peterson Institute for International Economics, accessed 17 May 2016.


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