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 14: Sanctions and international arbitration

Eric De Brabandere and David Holloway


The sanctions enacted by the European Union (EU), the United States of America (US) and various other States in 2014 against several Russian individuals have sparked a debate amongst scholars and practitioners concerning the arbitration of disputes involving Russian parties or transactions targeted by the sanctions. The issues arising, however, are not completely novel. The impact of sanctions on international arbitration has been studied and discussed for many years, notably in relation to the sanctions against Iraq, Libya and Iran. This chapter focuses on the impact of sanctions on international arbitration which can be provided for in contracts which have been targeted by the sanctions, or in international investment agreements. On a general jurisprudential level, economic sanctions highlight various complexities within the arbitral process, viz. the operation and interaction of various laws and legal systems (the lex arbitri and law governing the arbitration agreement, the substantive law of the contract and the law of the enforcing jurisdiction as well as overriding international law principles). These various laws may be in play throughout the process, to be applied not only by tribunals themselves during the course of proceedings, but also potentially by courts deciding or reviewing questions of jurisdiction and public policy (whether at the seat or in the enforcing jurisdiction). On a more practical level the increase in relatively recent sanctions regimes has led to growing discussion about the implications of these regimes for arbitrators and arbitral institutions. Keywords international arbitration, arbitrability, lex arbitri, jurisdiction, responsibility of arbitrators and arbitration institutions, investment arbitration

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