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5. Sanctions applied by the European Union and the United Nations



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During 2001
sanctions continued to play an important role in the efforts
to manage a range of security problems while the reform of sanctions
witnessed towards the end of the 1990s continued. Both the United
Nations and the European Union have been working to improve the
effectiveness of sanctions as an instrument for managing international
security problems.

Although the
word ‘sanctions’ is frequently used, it does not have
an agreed definition. The UN Charter does not use the word at
all but refers to measures that may be adopted in response to
identified threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts
of aggression. The implications of using sanctions against states
are similar to a military action as their intent is always to
inflict damage on the target. For this reason, the legitimacy
of sanctions applied without a decision by the Security Council
has been questioned.

are now not only applied to target states, but also to non-state
entities and, increasingly, to individuals. After the terrorist
attacks on the USA on 11 September the UN Security Council agreed
on extensive measures against groups and individuals that have
carried out acts of terrorism. The use of sanctions against terrorism—a
general and global threat rather than a threat to the peace,
breach of the peace or act of aggression in a specific location—is
unprecedented but draws heavily on recent UN experience with
the development of targeted sanctions. However, it is not currently
proposed to apply similar measures to other general threats identified
by the Security Council.

The EU has
established sanctions against states although the UN Security
Council has not taken a similar decision. In some cases the EU
has maintained its sanctions after the Security Council has decided
to end UN measures. These decisions reflect the emergence of
a political actor with an identity separate from the identity
of its member states, since those states would not themselves
have taken these decisions outside the EU context.

This is a
distinctive approach to the use of sanctions in support of its
CFSP. Sanctions are being used by the EU as one instrument to
advance its objectives on democratization and human rights. The
EU sanctions achieved some success in South-Eastern Europe when
used as part of a broader set of security-building measures.


Ian Anthony
(United Kingdom) is the Leader of the SIPRI
Internet Database on European Export Controls Project. In
1992–98 he was Leader of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Project.
His most recent publication for SIPRI is A Future Arms Control
Agenda: Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 118, 1999
for which he is co-editor (with Adam Daniel Rotfeld). He is also
editor of the SIPRI volumes Russia and the Arms Trade
(1998), Arms Export Regulations (1991) and SIPRI Research
Report no. 7, The Future of Defence Industries in Central
and Eastern Europe
(1994), and author of The Naval Arms
(SIPRI, 1990) and The Arms Trade and Medium Powers:
Case Studies of India and Pakistan
1947–90 (1991). He
has written or co-authored chapters for the SIPRI Yearbook
since 1988.