Who Imposes Sanctions?

Who imposes sanctions? Essentially, governments and intergovernmental organizations impose sanctions, which means creating sanctions through the implementation of relevant laws, and regulations. The primary states and organizations imposing sanctions are United Nations, which imposes multilateral sanctions; the United States, which imposes unilateral sanctions and the European Union, which imposes multilateral sanctions.

The laws and regulations through which sanctions are imposed may also be called “resolutions” in the case of the UN. No matter what they are called, they are sanctions. However, these sanctions are merely embodied in the paper, and still need to be enforced.

Who Imposes Sanctions?

While inter-governmental organizations impose sanctions, they are not the enforcers of sanctions. The enforcement is usually done by the function that monitors and ensures sanctions compliance. The inter-governmental organizations, leave it to the member nations and organizations, to further adopt and create methods to enforce sanctions domestically.

Governments that impose their sanctions may have one government body pass the legislation and another government body monitor or enforce the legislation, such as in the US. In the US the legislative body, Congress, may impose sanctions, which are imposed through the passage of a sanctions bill, and then those sanctions are enforced through various agencies, federal regulators, and even through the enlistment of state regulators. Moreover, the obligation to enforce sanctions may cascade down to non-government actors, as is the case with financial institutions.

Often governments that adopt establish a regulatory body, such as a bank examiner, to visit and examine institutions, to determine whether they are taking necessary steps to ensure they are not engaged in sanctioned incidents or activities. The bank examiners may discover sanctioned activities that may lead to fines and penalties.

The effectiveness of sanctions is determined by the number of participating countries. Globalization weakens sanctions because a globalized market makes it easier to replace and reroute trade channels. Because of the expanding market, countries acting on their own without international support have become much less effective, especially as the global economic power of those countries diminishes. If a country’s trade is cut off in one way, the country will find another way to get what it wants.

Final Thoughts

In modern international relations, international sanctions have emerged as a crucial component. These are coercive actions taken against States, non-State entities, or people who endanger global peace and security. The goals are to alter an agent’s behavior, lessen its maneuverability or weaken its position, and publicly denounce those agents who constitute a threat to global peace and security. Penalties should be reasonable because they are inherently preventative. They are employed as a substitute for the use of force. Nowadays, sanctions are imposed primarily by the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the United Nations (OSCE).

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