CYIL Vol. 7, 2016

ZUZANA TRÁVNÍČKOVÁ CYIL 7 ȍ2016Ȏ The sanctions practice has changed substantially in the recent past 20 years. From comprehensive sanctions states and international organisations shifted (almost without any exceptions) to a new form of coercive and restrictive measures – to smart/ targeted sanctions. Current sanctions are strictly targeted towards individuals (assets freeze, travel ban) or on a particular commodity, so called selective sanctions (arms, including training and technical assistance, nuclear weapons, petroleum, timber, aircrafts, luxury goods…). 19 Sanction decisions of the UN, EU and individual states also define a wide scope of humanitarian exceptions. Especially individually targeted financial and travel sanctions resolutely do not work as collective punishment. The UN, EU, as well as particular states have already elaborated transparent and human rights respecting procedures for the creation of sanctions list (blacklists) and for de-listing. Regarding the developments in the recent 20 years, the common conclusion about the devastating impacts of sanctions is valid no more. The tendency to impose sanctions with a maximum limitation of possible humanitarian impact was only disrupted by Russian counter-sanctions imposed in August 2014. Russian sanctions – in contrast with all other measures – also covered such commodities like meat, pork, milk and dairy products, fruits and vegetables – that are strictly excluded from all other sanction regimes. The scope and the directing of Russian Federation sanctions is very special; it definitely goes far beyond the mainstream of targeted sanctions practice and probably has negative humanitarian impact – however, not on people in targeted states but on people in Russia as the sender of restrictive measures. Let us see Russian measures from 2014 as an exception that proves the rule that current sanctions are strictly targeted and do not cause such devastating effects as, unfortunately, some sanction regimes at the beginning of 1990 did. Conclusion Prof. Mohamad’s contribution to the legality (permissibility) of unilateral sanctions is, from my point of view, based mostly on an assessment of sanctions in their traditional form. For a long time (especially in the 70’s, 80’s and in the first half of the 90’s), multilateral as well as unilateral sanctions imposed often covered as wide a range of economic relations with the sanctioned state as possible. Many sanctions regimes really were comprehensive. The harmfulness and devastating effects of comprehensive sanctions were proved at the end of the 90’s undoubtedly, and they led the international community to the shift to a new – and much more sensitive form of sanctions, to targeted sanctions. Many characteristics that were true about comprehensive sanctions (human rights impact, humanitarian impact) 19 TRÁVNÍČKOVÁ, Z., ZEMANOVÁ, Š. and PETERKOVÁ, J. ‘Russian Sanctions in the Cntext of Current Sanctions Practice’ in J. Antal (ed.) Small States – Big Challenges: The Experience of the EU and Visegrad Region (Oeconomica, Praha 2015) 47, 51.


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