, Volume 91, Number 6

Marcos Tourinho



This article explores the normative and institutional implications of the longterm use of individual sanctions by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). It identifies the systematic and extensive use of individual sanctions as the most fundamental qualitative change in international sanctions policy during this century. It argues that policy is developing towards their use not only in order to address international crises and disputes of relatively limited scope and duration, but also to address enduring criminal activities, notably (but not exclusively) related to terrorism. While these sanctions remain associated with threats to international peace and security in the classic sense, they have in many cases transformed into long-term confiscations of individual assets, instead of temporary freezes. The UNSC, designed to address international crises on an exceptional basis, now engages in permanent sequestrations and is tasked with the monitoring of individual criminal activities on a massive scale. While individual sanctions have on some occasions proven effective, their systematic use by inadequate institutions complicates the Council’s implementation of sanctions and undermines its legitimacy.

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