Research Handbook on UN Sanctions and International Law
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Research Handbook on UN Sanctions and International Law

Edited by Larissa van den Herik

The 1990s have been labeled the ‘Sanctions Decade’, since they witnessed an unprecedented intensification of the use of collective non-military enforcement measures, and in particular sanctions, by the post-Cold War reactivated Security Council. This Research Handbook studies the current practice of UN sanctions in international law, their interrelationship with other regimes and substantive areas of law, as well as issues arising from their implementation and application at the domestic level.
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Chapter 11: Timing matters: termination policies for UN sanctions

Kristen E. Boon

Abstract

In recent decades, the UN Security Council has increased its use of sanctions, particularly in cases of intrastate (non international) conflict. However once in place, UN sanctions tend to stick. The decision to lift sanctions – just like the decision to impose them – is political, and there is an instinct not to revisit ‘already decided’ matters. While it is often assumed that it is preferable to have high barriers to the termination of sanctions in order to extract credible commitments from entities subject to sanctions, how and when sanctions end is related not only to their efficiency but also to legal principles related to public authority. In this chapter, I examine the Security Council’s current termination practices for multilateral sanctions. I then explore the relationship between termination procedures and voting rules, and other mechanisms such as delisting. I argue that in most cases, short sanctions with defined termination procedures in the form of sunset clauses, combined with a global delisting review process, are the most desirable model. Keywords termination, delisting, sunset clauses, snap-back, commitment to review

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