UNILATERAL SANCTIONS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

Alfred de Zayas' Human Rights Corner

Vienna, 27 June 2019

Prof. Alfred de Zayas, Geneva School of Diplomacy

Excellencies, distinguished colleagues, ladies and
gentlemen,

The world order established by the UN Charter takes
precedence over other international and regional treaties and imposes positive
and negative obligations on member states, including the United States of
America and the European Union. This is stipulated in Article 103 of the
Charter, the supremacy clause.

The question arises whether in the light of the UN
Charter unilateral coercive measures could be considered compatible with modern
international law? The orthodox answer
is that only those sanctions that are imposed by the Security Council
under Chapter VII can be considered legal. Article 41 of the charter stipulates
“The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed
force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions “. But even Security Council decisions and
resolutions must be…

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