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economic sanctions

Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law
John P. GrantJohn P. Grant, J. Craig BarkerJ. Craig Barker

economic sanctions 

This is not a term of art, but was widely used during the time of the League of Nations to describe those non-military measures which the Covenant required to be imposed automatically on any member resorting to war in disregard of its obligations under arts. 12–15, namely ‘the severance of all trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between … nationals, … and the prevention of all financial, commercial or personal intercourse [with] the nationals of any other State …’: art. 16(1). The expression is used, equally, to describe certain of those ‘measures not involving the use of armed force’ which may at discretion be employed by the Security Council to give effect to its decisions under Chap. VII of the U.N. Charter and which ‘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’: art. 41. While there are some, and increasing, examples of selective economic sanctions being applied by the Security Council, there are only two instances of situations where the Council has imposed a complete economic boycott on a State, specifically against Rhodesia (by Res. 232 (1966) of 16 December 1966) and against Iraq (by Res. 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990 and Res. 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991). See Schermers and Blokker, International Institutional Law (4th rev. ed.), 702–716, 735–749. See also Sanctions Committees.