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Adapting Traditional Humanitarian Law To Sanctions

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Chapter Summary

The radical change in the landscaping of international relations and conflicts in the past decade or two has led both to a proliferation in the use of economic sanctions by international organizations and to widespread rejection of this international collective coercion instrument by major diplomatic and intellectual constituencies. The decision-making bodies are bound only by the content of relevant Security Council resolutions and not by precedents and, therefore, operate without any recognizable doctrine to guide them. The persistence of serious humanitarian problems in sanctions regimes and political pressure generated by the opponents of sanctions measures have led to a plethora of proposals for mitigating or even eliminating collateral damage to civilian populations. Sanctions are frequently in force in a complex context in which many other non-routine conditions and events simultaneously affect the same actors and cloud the visibility of cause and effect.

Keywords: economic sanctions; humanitarian law; international organizations; Security Council



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