Due Process in UN Targeted Sanctions

Research & Publications | March 27, 2020 |

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UN Photo, Loey Felipe

Sanctions are an important tool for the UN Security Council to achieve its strategic objectives.  Given the increasing number of legal challenges to UN targeted sanctions, particularly in relation to conflict-related and nonproliferation regimes, how can the effectiveness and legitimacy of such sanctions be advanced in the months and years ahead?

In November 2019, UNU-CPR, together with the Governments of Switzerland and Belgium, hosted a two-day workshop to discuss how due process challenges continue to impact the effectiveness and legitimacy of UN sanctions, and to consider new approaches to strengthening due process in UN sanctions.

The discussion built on Fairly Clear Risks: Protecting UN sanctions’ legitimacy and effectiveness through fair and clear procedures, a 2018 UNU-CPR policy report funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The retreat brought together Member State representatives, UN sanctions officials, practitioners as well as international legal experts to explore if and how these ideas might be realized through action in and around the Security Council.

Thematic discussions were structured around four sessions, from assessing the state of play to exploring solutions and discussing possible next steps. There was particular interest in enhancing protections beyond the counter-terrorism space, both through adjusting current working methods as well as the establishment of a formal independent review capability. This latter option, which received particular attention, would provide for the review of the evidentiary basis for initial listings as well as a review of the eligibility for retaining listings over time.

The Conference Proceeding Paper summarizes key points and outcomes from the discussions.

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