Critique Of United Nations Sanctions As An Effective Means Of Ensuring International Peace And Security

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RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON CRITIQUE OF UNITED NATIONS SANCTIONS AS AN EFFECTIVE MEANS OF ENSURING INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1        Background of the Study

The history of international law is a chronicle of attempts by members of the international community to establish a framework that would prevent the scourge of war, effectively resolve international disputes and promote mutual respect for the integrity of states. With the failure of the League of Nations to prevent World War 2, the United Nations (UN) was created in 1945 and the Security Council (SC); its primary organ was charged with maintaining international peace and security.The SC’s first task in this regard is to determine the existence of any threat to, or breach of the peace or act of aggression under Article 39 of the UN Charter. Following such determination; the SC may decide what measures short of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, or it may authorize military action. The measures short of armed force – otherwise termed “sanctions” are the focus of this research. It must be quickly pointed out that every enforcement measure authorized by the SC under Chapter VII of the UN Charter constitutes a sanction. Enforcement measures may be broadly categorized into “military sanctions”, i.e. those involving the use of armed force and “nonmilitary sanctions”, or those excluding the use of armed force. This study is concerned with the latter category, and uses the term ‘sanctions’ in that sense.

During the Cold War, veto power politics and the ideological tension between the United States (US) and Soviet Union caused a stalemate in the SC which hindered the use of sanctions in the UN’s collective security system. The demise of the Soviet Union however roused the SC from its sanctions lethargy, and a revived SC imposed sanctions on a dozen states  Charter of the United Nations 1945 (hereafter UN Charter), Arts. 41 and 42.

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