This chapter addresses the subject of the legal limitations that international law places on the imposition of coercive international economic and financial sanctions, with particular reference to sanctions with counter-proliferation aims – ie, purposed in stopping the actual or suspected proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The subject of legal limitations on coercive economic sanctions is an important one in the general consideration of the formalization of the international legal regime relative to economic sanctions. As will be discussed in this chapter, economic sanctions, whether imposed multilaterally or unilaterally, have become an increasingly utilized tool of coercive policy, particularly by powerful states and international organizations against weaker, developing states. An identification and clarification of the existing and emerging rules of international law that impose limits upon the ability of states and international organizations to lawfully impose coercive economic sanctions, is an important part of the development of a more mature and equitable international legal system. This chapter will focus on two main areas of customary international legal obligation, the sources of which impose limits on the application of coercive international economic sanctions and it will inquire to what extent these obligations apply similarly to unilateral and UN sanctions. The first is the general international law principle of economic non-coercion, and the second is international human rights law. Keywords nonproliferation, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), customary international law, economic sanctions, rights of states, coercion
Daniel H Joyner
This article first discusses the overall theme of this special issue of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law from a legal theoretical perspective, namely, the concept of the fundamental rights of states in international law. It concludes that fundamental rights of states exist in international law as autonomous juridical principles. The article then proceeds to discuss one such asserted fundamental right of states: the right to peaceful nuclear energy, as codified in the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. It argues that the right to peaceful nuclear energy is indeed a fundamental right of states, and that it has juridical substance, and carries juridical implications, as a rule of law on par with other rules of the jus dispositivum.
Daniel H Joyner and Marco Roscini
This article serves as a general substantive introduction to the special issue on the fundamental rights of states in international law. It introduces the concept in theoretical and doctrinal terms, and lays out the questions that will be addressed by the contributions to the special issue. These questions include: 1) What do attributes like ‘inherent’, ‘inalienable’ and ‘permanent’ mean with regard to state rights?; 2) Do they lead to identifying a unitary distinct category of fundamental rights of states?; 3) If so, what is their source and legal character?; 4) What are their legal implications, eg, when they come into conflict with other obligations of the right holder or with the actions of other states and international organisations?; and ultimately, 5) Is there still room in today's international law for a doctrine of ‘fundamental’ rights of states? The article reviews the fundamental rights of states in positive law sources and in international legal scholarship, and identifies the reasons for a renaissance of attention for this doctrine.