- equally anonymous - author of "Economic
Sanctions are prohibited by the UN Charter" observes:
"The plain fact of the matter is that economic coercion, be it through popular boycotts,
trade embargoes or selective sanctions are not prohibited
so long as their aim is not to force a state to subordinate the exercise of its sovereign rights."
He argues: "The argument that economic sanctions violate Article 2 (4) of the [UN] Charter is ... without merit
because this only prohibits the use of armed force, not economic force.
This view is supported by the negotiating history of the UN Charter.
A Brazilian proposal to extend the prohibition of this Article to include economic force was rejected
during the drafting of the Charter on 6 May 1945. In his [related] commentary [...], Albrecht Randelzhofer,
Professor for Public International Law at the Free University of Berlin, writes (The UN Charter, commentary, 118):
'…para. 7 of the Preamble to the Charter states as one of the goals of the United Nations
‘that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest’.
And Art. 44 supports the view that the Charter uses the term ‘force’ where it clearly means ‘armed force’.
The prevailing view is further corroborated by a teleological interpretation of Art. 2 (4):
were this provision to extend to other forms of force,
States would be left with no means of exerting pressure on other States that violate international law.
That consequence would be unacceptable at the present stage of development of international law,
where compliance with the law is not effectively ensured through international organs.'"
"Though Switzerland is not, formally, an occupied country, and even serves as depositary of the Geneva Conventions,
Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land
of October 18, 1907
(US ratified November 27, 1909; Switzerland ratified May 12, 1910)
Art. 43. The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
Art. 44. A belligerent is forbidden to force the inhabitants of territory occupied by it to furnish information about the army of the other belligerent, or about its means of defense.
Art. 45. It is forbidden to compel the inhabitants of occupied territory to swear allegiance to the hostile Power.
Art. 46. Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private
property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected.
Private property cannot be confiscated.
Art. 47. Pillage is formally forbidden.
Art. 48. If, in the territory occupied, the occupant collects the taxes, dues, and tolls imposed for the benefit of the State, he shall do so, as far as is possible, in accordance with the rules of assessment and incidence in force, and shall in consequence be bound to defray the expenses of the administration of the occupied territory to the same extent as the legitimate Government was so bound.
Art. 49. If, in addition to the taxes mentioned in the above article, the occupant levies other money contributions in the occupied territory, this shall only be for the needs of the army or of the administration of the territory in question.
Art. 50. No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted
upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they
cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible.
BUN Charter of June 26, 1945 (US ratified: Oct 24, 1945; Switzerland ratified: Sep 10, 2002)
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace; ...
The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.
1 The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
2 All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
3 All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
4 All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. ...
C Charter of the Organization of American States OAS of April 30, 1948 (35 states, US ratified: June 19, 1951)
No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.
No State may use or encourage the use of coercive measures of an economic or political character in order to force the sovereign will of another State and obtain from it advantages of any kind.
D North Atlantic Treaty of April 4, 1949 (28 states, incl. US, in force since August 24, 1949)
The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
E Geneva Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of August 12, 1949
(US ratified August 2, 1955; Switzerland ratified March 31,1950)
Art. 8. Protected persons may in no circumstances renounce in part or in entirety the rights secured to them by the present Convention, and by the special agreements referred to in the foregoing Article, if such there be.
Art. 11 ... No derogation from the preceding provisions shall be made by special agreements between Powers one of which is restricted, even temporarily, in its freedom to negotiate with the other Power or its allies by reason of military events, more particularly where the whole, or a substantial part, of the territory of the said Power is occupied. ...
Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
Art. 49. Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.
Art. 64. The penal laws of the occupied territory shall remain in force,
with the exception that they may be repealed or suspended by the Occupying
Power in cases where they constitute a threat to its security or an obstacle
to the application of the present Convention.
Subject to the latter consideration and to the necessity for ensuring the effective administration of justice, the tribunals of the occupied territory shall continue to function in respect of all offences covered by the said laws.
F Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty of December 21, 1965 UN General Assembly (A/RES/20/2131)
1. No State has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements, are condemned.G Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of May 23, 1969 (Switzerland ratified: June 6, 1990)
2. No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights or to secure from it advantages of any kind....
4. The strict observance of these obligations is an essential condition to ensure that nations live together in peace with one another, since the practice of any form of intervention not only violates the spirit and letter of the Charter of the United Nations but also leads to the creation of situations which threaten international peace and security.
5. Every State has an inalienable right to choose its political, economic, social and cultural systems, without interference in any form by another State.
6. All States shall respect the right of self-determination and independence of peoples and nations, to be freely exercised without any foreign pressure, and with absolute respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. ...
Coercion of a representative of a State
The expression of a State's consent to be bound by a treaty which has been procured by the coercion of its representative through acts or threats directed against him shall be without any legal effect.
Coercion of a State by the threat or use of force
A treaty is void if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.
Treaties conflicting with a peremptory norm of general international law (“jus cogens”)
A treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international law. For the purposes of the present Convention, a peremptory norm of general international law is a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of States as a whole as a norm from which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character [e.g. the Hague Land War Convention, the Geneva Conventions, and the principles of sovereign equality of all UN Member States, and of self-determination of peoples, enshrined in the UN Charter].
F Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States of December 12, 1974, UN General Assembly (A/RES/29/3281)
No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights.
G Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes of November 15, 1982, UN General Assembly (A/RES/37/10)
Reaffirming the principle of the Charter of the United Nations that all States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,
13. Neither the existence of a dispute nor the failure of a procedure of peaceful settlement of disputes shall permit the use of force or threat of force by any of the States parties to the dispute.
H Human rights and unilateral coercive measures, 18 December 2002, UN General Assembly (A/RES/57/222)
Reaffirming the pertinent principles and provisions contained in the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974, in particular article 32 which declares that no State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights, ...
Expressing its concern about the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures in the field of human rights, development, international relations, trade, investment and cooperation,
Recalling that the World Conference on Human Rights called upon States to refrain from any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that creates obstacles to trade relations among States and impedes the full realization of all human rights, and also severely threatens the freedom of trade, ...
1. Urges all States to refrain from adopting or implementing any unilateral measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, in particular those of a coercive nature with all their extraterritorial effects, which create obstacles to trade relations among States, thus impeding the full realization of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the right of individuals and peoples to development; ...
3. Invites all States to consider adopting administrative or legislative measures, as appropriate, to counteract the extraterritorial applications or effects of unilateral coercive measures;
4. Rejects unilateral coercive measures with all their extraterritorial effects as tools for political or economic pressure against any country, ...;
5. Calls upon Member States that have initiated such measures to commit themselves to their obligations and responsibilities arising from the international human rights instruments to which they are party by revoking such measures at the earliest time possible;
7. Urges the Commission on Human Rights to take fully into account the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures, including the enactment of national laws and their extraterritorial application, in its task concerning the implementation
of the right to development; ...