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United Nations Sanctions and International Law

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The reactivation of the Security Council at the beginning of the last decade has resulted, since the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on August 2, l990, in increasing use of its powers under Chapter VII of the Charter and the adoption of measures against a number of state and non-state entities. The notion of a threat to the peace has now come to encompass violations of fundamen The reactivation of the Security Council at the beginning of the last decade has resulted, since the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on August 2, l990, in increasing use of its powers under Chapter VII of the Charter and the adoption of measures against a number of state and non-state entities. The notion of a threat to the peace has now come to encompass violations of fundamental norms of international law such as human rights and humanitarian law, and the wide-ranging measures adopted have included such innovations as the establishment of the UN Compensation Commission or that of the two international criminal tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. These measures have not only infringed on the legal rights of the targeted state (sometimes with irreversible effects where they have remained in force over a long period of time) and its population, but also on those of implementing states and of private rights within these states. The current debate over the legitimacy and long-term effects of economic sanctions on states and their populations makes it imperative to re-evaluate this instrument and the broader peace maintenance function of the Security Council in the light of current community concerns. Part One of this book addresses the theoretical issues by focussing on: 1) The place of sanctions in the international legal system; 2) the limits to the powers of the Security Council and the question of accountability; and 3) an assessment of the alternatives to collective economic sanctions. Part Two looks at the relationship between sanctions and humanitarian issues, examining the relationship between: 1) Sanctions and human rights law; 2) sanctions, humanitarian issues and mandates;and 3) sanctions and humanitarian law. Part Three focuses on implementation by states of Security Council sanctions resolutions by examining: 1) Sanctions and private rights; and 2) special problems for implementing states. Part Four addresses the future in reassessing the place and ethics of sanctions in an international legal system which is giving increased importance to the individual. This work is based on papers presented at a colloquium of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. Additional documents are available on disk in the back of the book.


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The reactivation of the Security Council at the beginning of the last decade has resulted, since the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on August 2, l990, in increasing use of its powers under Chapter VII of the Charter and the adoption of measures against a number of state and non-state entities. The notion of a threat to the peace has now come to encompass violations of fundamen The reactivation of the Security Council at the beginning of the last decade has resulted, since the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on August 2, l990, in increasing use of its powers under Chapter VII of the Charter and the adoption of measures against a number of state and non-state entities. The notion of a threat to the peace has now come to encompass violations of fundamental norms of international law such as human rights and humanitarian law, and the wide-ranging measures adopted have included such innovations as the establishment of the UN Compensation Commission or that of the two international criminal tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. These measures have not only infringed on the legal rights of the targeted state (sometimes with irreversible effects where they have remained in force over a long period of time) and its population, but also on those of implementing states and of private rights within these states. The current debate over the legitimacy and long-term effects of economic sanctions on states and their populations makes it imperative to re-evaluate this instrument and the broader peace maintenance function of the Security Council in the light of current community concerns. Part One of this book addresses the theoretical issues by focussing on: 1) The place of sanctions in the international legal system; 2) the limits to the powers of the Security Council and the question of accountability; and 3) an assessment of the alternatives to collective economic sanctions. Part Two looks at the relationship between sanctions and humanitarian issues, examining the relationship between: 1) Sanctions and human rights law; 2) sanctions, humanitarian issues and mandates;and 3) sanctions and humanitarian law. Part Three focuses on implementation by states of Security Council sanctions resolutions by examining: 1) Sanctions and private rights; and 2) special problems for implementing states. Part Four addresses the future in reassessing the place and ethics of sanctions in an international legal system which is giving increased importance to the individual. This work is based on papers presented at a colloquium of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. Additional documents are available on disk in the back of the book.

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