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State Responsibility for “Targeted Sanctions”

  • Antonios Tzanakopoulos (a1)

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The United States and other actors such as the European Union impose “targeted sanctions” against foreign officials for acts carried out in their official capacity, or against legal entities of targeted states. This mirrors the practice and experience of the United Nations. The Security Council's practice of imposing comprehensive sanctions in the early 1990s quickly evolved into a practice of “targeted” or “smart” sanctions, to both improve effectiveness and to alleviate the significant effects of sanctions on the population of targeted states. However, the legal regime for resorting to sanctions is different when it comes to states acting unilaterally than it is for collective action within the framework of the UN Charter. This essay first clarifies some terminological issues. It then delves into the legality of the practice of unilateral “targeted sanctions,” and concludes that the most legally difficult aspect of these measures is their purported extraterritoriality.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

References

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3 UN Charter arts. 39 & 41.

5 Id. at 128.

6 Id.

7 Id., art. 22.

8 Id., art. 49(1) & 130.

9 Id., art. 49(2).

10 Id., art. 49(3).

11 Id. at 130.

12 See id., arts. 42 & 48 (providing definitions of injured states); cf. id., art. 54 (discussing third-state countermeasures).

13 Id., art. 51.

14 Id., art. 50.

15 Id., art. 52(1).

16 Id., art. 52(2).

17 See S.C. Res. 2231 (July 20, 2015) (endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

18 Alleged Violations of the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (Iran v. U.S.), Application Instituting Proceedings (July 16, 2018) [hereinafter Application Instituting Proceedings].

19 Id. at para. 1.

20 See, e.g., id. at para. 21.

21 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights art. XXI(2), Aug. 15, 1955, 8 U.S.T. 899, 284 UNTS 93 [hereinafter Treaty of Amity].

22 Id., arts. IV, VII, VIII, IX & X; Application Instituting Proceedings, supra note 18, at para. 41.

23 See Treaty of Amity, supra note 21, art. XX.

24 Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicar. v. U.S.), Merits, 1986 ICJ Rep. 14, 126, para. 245 (June 27).

25 Id. at 138, para. 276 (emphasis added).

26 See Cedric Ryngaert, Jurisdiction in International Law 94 (2d ed. 2015); Joanne Scott, Extraterritoriality and Territorial Extension in EU Law, 62 Am. J. Comp. L. 87, 90 (2014).

27 Ryngaert, supra note 26, at 94.

28 Id. at 117.

29 Id.

30 See generally Cedric Ryngaert, Extraterritorial Export Controls (Secondary Boycotts), 7 Chin. J. Int'l L. 625 (2008).

31 See Application Instituting Proceedings, supra note 18, at paras. 12, 28.

32 G.A. Res. 51/22 (Dec. 6, 1996); G.A. Res. 53/10 (Nov. 3, 1998); G.A. Res. 57/5 (Nov. 1, 2002); G.A. Res. 61/170 (Feb. 7, 2007).

33 Human Rights Council Res. 36/10, UN Doc. A/HRC/RES/36/10 (Oct. 9, 2017).

35 See Antonios Tzanakopoulos, Domestic Court Reactions to Security Council Sanctions, in Challenging Acts of International Organisations Before National Courts 54 (August Reinisch ed., 2010); Antonios Tzanakopoulos, Collective Security and Human Rights, in Hierarchy in International Law: The Place of Human Rights 42 (Erika de Wet & Jure Vidmar eds., 2012); Antonios Tzanakopoulos, Sanctions Imposed Unilaterally by the European Union: Implications for the European Union's Responsibility, in Economic Sanctions Under International Law 145 (Ali Z. Marossi & Melissa R. Bassett eds., 2015).

State Responsibility for “Targeted Sanctions”

  • Antonios Tzanakopoulos (a1)

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