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Like the sanctions of national law, the specific sanctions of international law, reprisals and war, consist of forcibly depriving the individuals who are subjects of the state against which a sanction is directed of life, freedom, property or other values. The sanctions of international law differ from the sanctions of national law in their collective character. They are not directed against a definite individual, like the sanctions of national law, but against a group of individuals, the individuals belonging to a state, who are subjected to the legal order constituting this state. This means that, in contradis , tinction to national law which establishes individual responsibility, international law, as a rule, establishes collective responsibility for its violations. However, in exceptional cases, individual responsibility for violations of international law is established by general as well as by particular international law which provides for punishment or civil execution of definite individuals as a reaction against acts constituting a violation of international law. Although the term "reprisals” in its specific and original sense means only enforcement actions directed against states—that is, actions constituting collective responsibility-it is sometimes used in a wider sense to cover also sanctions constituting individual responsibility.
A disputed question which plays a certain part in the discussion of international security is whether reprisals and war, as international sanctions, do or do not have a punitive character. The answer depends on the definition of punishment, and punishment can hardly be characterized by any other criterion than by its function of deterrence. Punishment is that reaction against a violation of the law which consists of forcibly depriving a person of certain values for the purpose of deterring him and other persons from similar violations of the law. If this definition is accepted, it cannot be denied that reprisals and war, as sanctions of international law, have a punitive character. The punitive character, which means the deterrent function, of a war waged as a sanction is obvious. The same is true with respect to reprisals taken in time of war. If a belligerent reacts against the illegal use of poison gas on the part of another belligerent by applying the same measure, he does so in order to prevent his opponent from using this illegal weapon again. Only in regard to reprisals taken in time of peace as a reaction against a violation of international law, is the purpose of inducing a violator of the law to repair the damage caused by a violation primary, as in the case of the civil execution of national law. However, the function of preventing future violations of the law by deterrence is not excluded.
The rejection of the punitive character of international sanctions in general and of the sanctions provided for in a system of inter
national security in particular may be explained by the fact that under national law punishment has a certain defamatory connotation and some penalties are actually combined with defamatory consequences such as the forfeiture of political rights. However, neither this connotation nor these consequences are essential to the concept of punishment. Consequently, the view that the sanctions of international law do not have, or that the sanctions of an international security system should not have, a punitive character is without foundation. Nor is the requirement that the sanctions of an international security system must not be vindictive of any practical importance. They are vindictive if they are taken by the victim of aggression with the intention of taking revenge on an aggressor. As an objectively ascertainable action, revenge is a reaction against a wrong suffered and hence is not distinguishable from a sanction. As a subjective motive, revenge may be characterized by a feeling of resentment or hatred, but such a feeling is legally irrelevant as long as its expression in an enforcement action directed against an aggressor remains within the limits of a sanction. It is not the uncontrollable motive of a reaction against an aggressor but the objectively ascertainable reaction and its conformity or non-conformity with the law which counts.
If within a system of international security not only war but any use of armed force is prohibited in principle and exceptionally permitted only as a sanction, the two types of international sanctions must be designated as enforcement measures involving the use of armed force and those not involving it, or as military and non-military sanctions, but not as war and reprisals. By non-military sanctions, economic, financial and diplomatic sanctions are usually meant. However, sometimes the term "economic" sanctions covers all non-military sanctions and includes financial and diplomatic sanctions.? (bb) The execution of sanctions within an international security
system. The execution of the sanctions may be left to the individual members of the international organization and these members may-just as under general international law-be only authorized to fulfill this function. However, within a system of international security which prohibits the use of armed force, at least the execution of the nonmilitary, or so-called economic sanctions, should be obligatory. A higher degree of security is achieved if a central organ endowed with a certain competence regarding the execution of sanctions is established. This organ may be composed of representatives of all the members of the organization, usually called an assembly, or of only
some of them, elected by the assembly for a certain period of time, usually called a council. Some members, especially the great powers, may have a permanent seat in the council, so that only the other members of the council are elected. The central organ may adopt its decisions either by a unanimous vote or by a majority vote. The majority may have to include the affirmative votes of all the permanent members of the council so that each of the permanent members could have a so-called veto right. The decisions of the organ may have the character of mere recommendations or they may be legally binding upon the members of the organization. The central organ may be a committee of ambassadors, so that political considerations may prevail in adopting its recommendations or decisions, or the decision to apply sanctions may be conferred upon an independent court and only the execution of these decisions left to the assembly or council. The possible relationships between such a court and the executive organ will be discussed later. It stands to reason that international security is guaranteed to a higher degree if the central organ is composed only of some and not of all the members of the organization, if it may adopt its decisions by a majority vote and not unanimously, if there is no veto right of permanent members, and if its decisions are not mere recommendations but are legally binding upon the members.
It makes an important difference whether the central organ does or does not have the means by which sanctions are to be executed at its direct disposal. If these means are not at the direct disposal of the central organ, sanctions can be executed only by the member states of the security organization in conformity with the recommendations or binding decisions of the central organ. Then there is no essential difference between an enforcement action taken as a sanction by the security organization and the exercise of individual or collective selfdefense, especially if the question as to whether or not an illegal act of aggression has been committed and if so which state is the aggressor, is to be decided by the members executing the sanctions. The difference consists only in the fact that in case of self-defense no central organ of the security organization interferes; and even this difference is reduced to a minimum if the central organ has only the power to make recommendations. On the other hand, the exercise of individual and, especially, of collective self-defense itself has the character of a sanction, insofar as it is a legally authorized reaction against a violation of the law. It is, as pointed out, a decentralized execution of sanctions, the states exercising self-defense acting as organs of the security organization. This is particularly evident if collective selfdefense is, under the treaty constituting the security organization, not merely a right but an obligation of the members, that is to say,
if the member states are obliged to come to the assistance of the victim of an illegal aggression.”
If the central organ of the security organization has not at its direct disposal the means by which the sanctions are to be executed, the execution of the sanctions—and this means the operation of the security system-depends in the last analysis on the good will of the member states. Hence, the execution of the sanctions may be seriously endangered by the political considerations of the various governments, especially the governments of great powers, if-rightly or wronglythey consider that the interests of their own state are not compatible with their obligations under the security system. The situation is different if the means by which the sanctions are to be executed are at the direct disposal of the central organ and the execution of the sanctions independent of the will of the individual members.
In this respect there is a certain difference between military and non-military sanctions. Armed forces, the specific means by which military sanctions are executed, may very well be placed at the direct disposal of the central organ, without depriving the members of the security organization of their character as sovereign states. However, non-military, especially financial and economic sanctions, can be directly applied only by the government of a state, because only a state government controls the means by which these sanctions may be executed, and if such control is conferred on the central organ of a security organization, this organization comes near to that of a super-state. This is a consequence of the nature of non-military, especially financial and economic, sanctions.
If the international security organization is not universal and, consequently, there are states which are not members of the organization and hence are not bound by the provisions of the treaty constituting the organization concerning the application of sanctions, these states may support the organization without joining it by assuming the obligation or expressing the willingness to refrain from any action tending to defeat the execution of a sanction taken by or on behalf of the organization. (cc) Non-military sanctions.
As far as so-called diplomatic sanctions are concerned, it may appear that an international organization may apply these measures directly, that is to say, not through the governments of the member states, without losing its international character. The diplomatic means which may be employed are: a protest against an illegal conduct of a state, the withdrawal of the head of the embassy, the severing of all
diplomatic relations, and also of all consular relations; the non-recognition of a situation established by an illegal action. With the exception of cutting off consular representation, all these diplomatic means may be applied by an international organization which exchanges diplomatic representatives both with states which are members of the organization and states which are not. However, these diplomatic means have no effect if they are not applied also by the member states in conformity with a recommendation or binding decision of the central organ of the security organization.
Financial sanctions consist of denying all financial assistance to a state guilty of aggression and its nationals, cutting off long-term loans, suspending short-term banking credits, and the like. Only an authority which is competent to impose legal obligations upon public and private banking institutions, which therefore can exercise legislative and executive power directly over individuals, can apply such measures. To confer such powers upon a security organization would hardly be compatible with its international character. Financial sanctions are less effective than other economic sanctions and consequently should be combined with them. These sanctions also presuppose legislative and executive powers which are characteristic of a state government.
Economic sanctions may be applied in different degrees. The most important economic sanction consists of prohibiting the commerce in arms, ammunition and the raw materials essential to the production of arms and ammunition and to the prosecution of hostilities between the member states of the security organization and the aggressor. Among these prohibitions an oil embargo is of particular importance. The refusal to accept exports from a state is an economic sanction which may have a remarkable effect on the state against which it is applied. The highest possible degree of an economic sanction is achieved by prohibiting all commerce, which includes prohibiting the nationals of the member states from entering the territory of the aggressor, prohibiting the nationals of the aggressor state from entering the territory of the member states, controlling all transport and international exchanges of goods, and interrupting the diplomatic and consular relations between the member states and the aggressor. This is a complete international boycott of the aggressor. It stands to reason that the economic measures taken against the aggressor should be accompanied by economic measures, especially those of a financial nature, taken in favor of the victim, and that in this respect every possible assistance should be given to the state which is the victim of the aggression.