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Wissenschaftliche Studie, 2015
256 Seiten, Note: 10
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Objectives of study
2. AN INTRODUCTION TO SANCTIONS AND SANCTION REGIMES
2.1.1. History of sanctions
2.1.2. Definitions of sanction
2.1.3. Types of sanctions
18.104.22.168. Comprehensive sanctions
22.214.171.124. Targeted sanctions
126.96.36.199. Major challenges of UN targeted Economic Sanctions
188.8.131.52. Arms embargoes
184.108.40.206. Restrictions on admission (Visa or travel ban)
220.127.116.11. Unilateral sanctions
18.104.22.168. Economic sanctions
2.2. The basis for economic sanctions in the UN Charter
2.2.1. The purposes of economic sanctions
2.2.2. Characteristics of UNSC economic sanctions
22.214.171.124. Binding and supreme
126.96.36.199. Politics and self-interest
188.8.131.52. Media driven
2.3. Ambiguity in UNSC economic sanctions
2.3.1. Counting successes and failures; argument of the sanctions advocates
2.3.2. Employing sanctions as a tool of regime change
2.3.3. Economic Sanctions as neo-colonialism
2.3.4. Major criticisms of UNSC Sanctions
184.108.40.206. Ethical dilemma
220.127.116.11. Double standards
18.104.22.168. Missing legal and constitutional concept
22.214.171.124. Lack of effectiveness
2.4. Economic Sanctions: changing perceptions and euphemisms
2.4.1. Brief history of the debate on economic sanctions
2.4.2. Economic sanctions debate in the 1930’s
2.4.3. Economic sanctions debate in the 1960’s to 80’s
2.4.4. Economic sanctions debate after
2.4.5. How economic sanction goals are achieved
2.4.6. The mechanisms of economic sanctions
2.4.7. Understanding the real targets of economic sanctions
2.4.8. A review of the euphemisms of sanctions
126.96.36.199. Target State
188.8.131.52. Coalescing a population with its leader
184.108.40.206. The concept of “Collateral” effects
220.127.116.11. Humanitarian exemptions
2.4.9. Economic sanctions: theoretical considerations
2.4.10. Comments and opinions on the determination and use of sanctions Conclusions
3. THE POSITION OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AND THE ROLE OF THEORIES
3.1.1. Overview of human rights
18.104.22.168. Economic and social rights
22.214.171.124. Civil and political rights
126.96.36.199. Right to life
188.8.131.52. Right to freedom from torture
184.108.40.206. Right to an effective remedy
3.1.2. The right to development
220.127.116.11. The US objection to the right to development
3.2. Economic sanctions and human rights protection
3.2.1. Limits of economic sanctions under the UN Charter
3.2.2. Limits of economic sanctions under international law
3.2.3. Unilateral sanctions in international law
3.2.4. Human rights and State(s) responsibility
3.3. Theories of international relations and States interaction
3.3.1. Realism theory
3.3.2. Liberalism theory
3.3.3. Institutionalism theory
3.3.4. Hegemonic stability theory
3.3.5. Balance of power theory
3.3.6. Constructivism theory
3.3.7. Democratic peace theory
3.3.7. 1. A critique of democratic peace theory
3.3.8. Cosmopolitanism theory
3.3.9. New war theory
3.3.10. Imperialism theory
3.3.11. Dependency theory
4. SANCTIONS; FROM RHODESIA TO ZIMBABWE
4.1.1. Southern Rhodesia: An “ideal” target of UN economic sanctions?
4.1.2. A brief historical overview of Rhodesia
4.1.3. The use of suppressive racist policies
4.1.4. Unilateral declaration of independence (UDI); followed by sanctions
4.1.5. The UN economic sanctions
4.1.6. Self-determination in context
4.1.7. Initial difficulties faced by sanctions
18.104.22.168. Sanctions breaches by Portugal and South Africa
22.214.171.124. Sanctions breaches by the United States and the United Kingdom
126.96.36.199. Sanctions breaches by Zambia
4.1.8. Adaptation of the economy
4.2. Towards democracy and independence
4.2.1. The Matabeleland crisis that lasted within 1982 to
4.2.2. The Unity Accord
4.2.3. Shortfall of the 1987 Unity Accord
4.2.4. Crisis and challenges of the 1990’s
4.2.5. Developments since
4.2.6. Foreign intervention
4.3. Misconceptions and ambiguities: Overview of the US and the EU sanctions
4.3.1. Determination of US sanctions on Zimbabwe: Economic or Targeted sanctions?
4.3.2. The EU sanctions on Zimbabwe: Restrictive Measures or Economic sanctions?
4.4. General Impact of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans
4.4.1. Effects of sanctions on Zimbabwe’s economy and rights of civilians
188.8.131.52. Right to healthcare
184.108.40.206. Right to education
220.127.116.11. Right to life and quality of life
4.4.2. Multilateral financial institutions funding and their impact on well-being
18.104.22.168. African Development Bank (AfDB)
22.214.171.124. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
126.96.36.199. World Bank
188.8.131.52. Foreign direct investment (FDI)
4.5. Social impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe
4.5.1. Gender based violence
4.6. A Paradigm shift, Zimbabwe’s “looks East Policy”
UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTION
This study examines sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe’s leadership and how these sanctions affect the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans. Findings demonstrate that sanctions against Zimbabwe were imposed in an effort to foster democracy, enhance human rights and maintain the rule of law. This study reviews the above reasons advanced by the United States and the European Union for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. Specifically, the study examines the impact of these sanctions on the well-being of the civilian population in Zimbabwe. It argues that the imposed sanctions have done more harm than good and have merely achieved the opposite of what they were designed to accomplish.
Although there are ambiguities on whether the sanctions are targeted or economic sanctions, this study asserts that they possess elements of both targeted and economic sanctions. They are targeted in the sense that there are some Zimbabwean elites listed in the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and they are economic in nature, through the enactment of the Zimbabwe Economic and Recovery Act (ZIDERA) by the US Congress in 2001.
Furthermore, the study argues that the US and the EU targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe aggravate the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans, while failing to change the behaviour of the regime. Instead of motivating change and improvements, sanctions soured relationship between Zimbabwe and the West. It concludes that reconciliation is achievable if the big and influential players in international diplomacy explore soft and flexible strategies of engagement. These include persuasive and continuous negotiation that incorporates all parties to the conflict, rather than relying on coercive measures, such as economic sanctions, as a means of resolving the conflict with Zimbabwe.
Note: The word, “I” and “the study,” were used interchangeably all through the text.
Figure 1: Number of sanctions imposed by the US between 1993 and
Figure 2: Reasons for imposing unilateral sanctions
Figure 3: The structure of imperialism
Figure 4: Dependency Theory
Figure 5: Average Annual AfDB Disbursements
Figure 6: Average Annual IMF Disbursements (US$M)
Figure 7: Average Annual World Bank Disbursements (US$M)
Figure 8: Foreign Direct Investment Inflows (US$M)
Table 1: Land classification according to the Land Apportionment Act, 1930
Table 2: Cash flow from multilateral institutions into Zimbabwe
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
This empirical research aims to examine the impact of Zimbabwe’s colonial and postcolonial history, independence struggle, and divergent economic and political perspectives of both the government of Zimbabwe and Western governments in establishing a plausible understanding of the real issue(s) that led to the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the West. Following a barrage of condemnations and critical deprecation on a number of salient issues, the US and the EU has maintained sanctions against Zimbabwe for more than a decade. This study proposes to analyse the consequent sufferings of human beings, particularly the most avoidable sufferings and hardships. We live in a world where the most influential choices are made by the most powerful people in powerful States. The following question thus arises: Is the world converging towards protecting human rights as expressed in the universal declaration of human rights, well-being, peace and freedom? This question and more are addressed in this empirical work.
The choice of this specific area of study corresponds to both my personal and academic interest. My personal relationship with Zimbabweans who are my friends, schools mates and those that I consider my brothers and sisters have influenced my interest in studying how US and EU sanctions purportedly imposed on select individuals in Zimbabwe have affected the rest of the population. This study realizes both my personal and academic interests by focusing on how regime related sanctions have an impact on the entire population of a targeted State. Zimbabwe has a long history when it comes to sanctions, both comprehensive and unilateral. The country is a significant case in sanction episodes starting from 1966. The United Nations imposed its first sanctions on Rhodesia now Zimbabwe in 1966. From that period until the present, Zimbabwe at one time or another has been under sanctions either by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union or both. Zimbabwe has been sanctioned in six sanction episodes: 1966, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009, making it one of the most sanctioned countries in the world. In a simple analysis, Zimbabwe has become a regular candidate of the “sanction industry.” Hence, this study deems it relevant to analyse the impact of sanctions on this country with respect to the well-being of the civilian population. The present sanctions episode against Zimbabwe started in December 2001, when the United States congress passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act (ZIDERA). The Act opposed extension of loans or debt cancellations from Multilateral Financial Institutions (IMF, World Bank and AfDB) to Zimbabwe. Thereafter, the United Kingdom and the United States joined forces in 2002 and persuaded their allies to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe. On February 18, 2002, following the expulsion of the EU head of election monitoring mission Pierre Schori, who was accused by the Zimbabwe government of interfering with its elections, the EU introduced sanctions referred to as “restrictive measures” against President Robert Mugabe and some senior government officials. These punitive measures also barred these top State functionaries from travelling in and around Europe just as their personal assets and bank accounts were frozen. In addition , on September 2002, the Howard government in Australia imposed targeted sanctions on members of the Zimbabwe government in protests against the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe. These included travel restrictions, arms embargos and targeted financial sanctions.
In principle the present sanction regime against Zimbabwe is said to be a targeted sanctions. According to the US and the EU, the sanctions were imposed in order to establish democracy, promote human rights and enhance the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Thus, the sanctions aim to compel a change in the behaviour of the regime. Contrarily, the government of Zimbabwe has argued continuously that the sanctions are economic sanctions . The government of Zimbabwe supports this claim by highlighting the fact that since the enactment of ZIDERA, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have denied the State loan extensions, credits or guarantees, external market facilities and financial aid, thus indicating that the sanctions were a premeditated strategy utilized to collapse the economy. As a response to the claims by the Zimbabwe regime in 2008, the EU issued a statement in which it argued that the sanctions were not targeted against Zimbabwe as a country, but rather specific individuals and therefore could not be seen as detrimental to the Zimbabwean economy.
The principal argument raised in this study is that contrary to the common belief that sanctions can bring about the desired goals of compelling a government of a particular State to promote democracy and human rights, they are in fact missing the intended targets. Instead, they target the poor, disempower civil society groups and ironically threaten the democratic process. According to Dr. Alex T. Magaisa, a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer:
The problem is that, it is the weak members of the society that are hard hit by the effects of the sanctions. Democracy cannot flourish in poverty. It needs stable economic foundations (News Zimbabwe.com, 2009).
The present economic situation in Zimbabwe is tragic as the economy is in a shambles. Consequently, the situation threatens human security and also denies Zimbabweans the capabilities to live in dignity as prescribed in the universal declaration of human rights . This study contends that, it will be unfair to argue that the deterioration of Zimbabwe’s economy is solely caused by sanctions; however, it is important to state that sanctions contributed immensely in setting the economic clock of Zimbabwe backwards. The world system is interrelated and States are embedded in the system. Therefore, it is inappropriate to argue that sanctions have no effects on the economy of a sanctioned State. In the subsequent sections, the study provides detailed analysis of how the US targeted sanctions and the EU restrictive measures against Zimbabwe have affected or improved the rights and well-being of civilians within the Zimbabwean societies.
Economic sanctions before the 1990’s have been applauded by both war protagonists and pacifists as durable alternatives to war. The acclaimed success of economic sanctions against Rhodesia and South Africa made it acceptable to many people, who perceived sanctions as a suitable alternative to the use of military force. Despite its poor record after South Africa, politicians still argue that sanctions are effective and fill a gap in international relations. According to Richard Holbrooke, a UN ambassador under President Bill Clinton, “The concept of sanctions is not just still valid, it’s necessary. What else fills the gap between pounding your breast and indulging in empty rhetoric and going to war besides economic sanctions?” (The New York Times, 2003).
The debate about economic sanctions has become a humanitarian dilemma. Despite the fact that many analysts, scholars and political observers have denounced their support for economic sanctions, its application has been on the increase since 1990. The lack of sufficient understanding of the grave human suffering that arises from economic sanctions and the political twists that comes into play in determining who to sanction as well as the types of suitable sanctions makes this study very timely and important, as it intends to fill this information gap.
Sanctions have been referred to by the United Nations as a “tool for all seasons.” The rationale behind the imposition of sanctions is the hope to solve a conflict without mass suffering and other negative consequences associated with war. Sanctions are believed to be a soft approach that can be used to compel or pressure an offender, mostly the government of a State to behave in line with the doctrine of the international community or the body imposing sanctions. This study seeks to address this false notion. Furthermore, there is on-going ambiguity on the real targets of economic sanctions. The study argues that the euphemisms of sanctions are carefully selected and intentionally used by the sanctioning parties to misinform the public on real targets of sanctions and also the consequences of sanctions on civilians.
The principal objective of the study is to examine with a scholarly approach how the US and EU imposed sanctions affect or improve the well-being of the Zimbabwean population. The study seeks to analyse the wider impact of US targeted sanctions and EU restrictive measures on the entire population of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the study examines justification for the increase and continued use of sanction instruments despite their low success rate. The study reviews the mechanisms of sanctions with regards to the real target of economic sanctions. In addition, the study analyses the language used when sanctions are imposed against a State. For example, it analyses euphemisms or semantics such as target State, offending nation, collateral effects, humanitarian exemptions, which are commonly used during sanction episodes. The purpose of analysing these euphemisms is to explain how they are deliberately employed by politicians to misinform the public, under report the impact of sanctions and reinforce them as an unavoidable tool of international diplomacy.
Having explained the objectives of the study, this study addresses the following two questions:
- Have the US and the EU sanctions imposed on selected individuals and entities in Zimbabwe contributed to improving the well-being of Zimbabweans, or have they instead favoured the interests of the sanction imposing countries?
- What are the impacts of regime related sanctions on the rights and well/being of the civilian population?
The study utilises a single case study that focuses solely on the impacts and consequences of sanctions on the rights and well-being of the civilian population in Zimbabwe. Since it is an empirical enquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, it is important to be holistic in approach so as to be able to approach the research objectives satisfactorily. Therefore, the study utilizes both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative research, the key methodology employed, provides the opportunity to carry an in-depth study, through fieldwork, to gain insight and vision into the experiences of the Zimbabwean population and how sanctions affects their human rights and well-being. Interviews were conducted to elicit information from participants. The study employs an open ended interview, where series of questions were posed to the respondents, who then explain and discuss their answers. Additionally, the study utilizes quantitative research method, a short questionnaire that provides the demographic profile of the respondents who participated in the study. Furthermore, the study utilizes secondary sources of data such as academic journals, books and news articles that deals on sanctions and their impact on the rights and well-being of the civilian population of a targeted State.
This work covers four principal Chapters and a final conclusion. Each Chapter starts with its own introduction and ends with a conclusion of the theme to which it is dedicated.
Chapter one provides a general introduction of the entire work in which it highlights the background of the study, the statement of the problem, motivation for the research, the objectives of the research, empirical questions utilised in the research, as well as the organization and structure of the work.
Chapter two provides a comprehensive overview of sanctions, tracing back their origins and history. It also analyses different types of sanctions and the reasons given by sanctioning parties for imposing economic sanctions against a State or territory. It further explores other reasons why the use of sanctions has increased since 1990. In addition, the Chapter examines debates on economic sanctions before the 1990’s as well as the current debate, which has taken place from the 1990’s until the present. Very importantly, the Chapter evaluates the choice and use of language in economic sanction episodes. The study argues that the euphemisms of sanctions are deliberately employed by politicians and the media to minimize/downplay the consequences of economic sanctions on the civilian population. Furthermore, it advances the argument that sanctions are a political game in which power is the only determinant factor. Finally, the Chapter argues that sanctions are a foreign policy tool targeted surreptitiously and primarily at civilian populations to coerce and impair their living conditions for political gains.
Chapter three provides legal perspective of sanctions. It reviews the compatibility and/or permissibility of sanctions under international humanitarian laws and conventions such the universal declaration of human rights (UDHR). Also it examines the role of States and the international community in protecting and safeguarding of human rights. In addition the Chapter reviews select theories of international relations in order to give a clearer understanding of the interaction patterns and relationship between States. To understand State relations and why States act and react the way they do, this study deems it necessary to analyse particular theories of State and international relations. Thus, it extensively reviews theories such as, Realism, Liberalism, Institutionalism, Hegemony Stability Theory, Balance of Power Theory, Cosmopolitanism Theory, Imperialism Theory, Dependency Theory and Democratic Peace Theory.
Chapter four provides a brief overview of the history of Zimbabwe from pre to post independence. Most importantly, the Chapter addresses the ambiguities in understanding the nature of the sanctions against Zimbabwe since the last decade. For instance, the EU has continually argued that its sanctions against Zimbabwe are not economic sanctions rather they are “restrictive measures.” Also the United States argues that its sanctions against Zimbabwe are targeted/smart sanctions, targeting President Robert Mugabe and select members of his regime. However, the government of Zimbabwe insists that sanctions against the country are economic and illegal. Owing to these ambiguities, this Chapter sheds light on the strategies and implementation of US and EU sanctions against Zimbabwe in an effort to establish whether they are economic, targeted/smart or restrictive measures. Furthermore, the Chapter explores the impacts of sanctions on Zimbabwe’s economy and the civilian population, particularly on the most vulnerable, such as the sick, disabled, elderly and pregnant women. The analysis on the direct impact of sanctions covers two main areas: sanctions impact on human rights and well-being of Zimbabweans and its impact on the economy and social environment. Regarding human rights and well-being, the study addresses the effects of sanctions on core human rights, such as right to healthcare, right to education and right to quality standard of living. Then it examines sanctions impact on key economic factors such as inflation, access to foreign finance and exchanges and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). With respects to the social impact, the study reviews the impact of sanctions on the social fabrics of the Zimbabwean societies. Finally, it reviews the “Look East Policy” of Zimbabwe.
Sanctions have been referred to by the United Nations as a “tool for all seasons.” They are often seen as alternative to military action, aimed to control the excesses of an offender, which is usually a State government or an individual. There are different forms of sanctions, including economic, social and political forms. A broad and continuously growing range of situations have been determined by the United Nations Security Council as threatening or breaching international peace and security, thereby favouring the use of sanctions. The Security Council, while occasionally authorizing the use of military force has changed its strategy to employ non-military measures in order to enforce compliance with its decisions. This development facilitated the imposition of sanctions as deterrence. Sanctions have been imposed on different countries for different reasons. Examples include the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the purported discovery of the latter’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Also, the United Nations, the EU and the United States imposed sanctions on the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia because of its role in escalating the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990’s. Furthermore, sanctions have been imposed on countries for their support of international terrorism. Examples are UN sanctions imposed on Libya in 1992 for supporting terrorism and terrorist groups such as the Irish Republican Army; the Basque separatist group ETA; Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (Council on Foreign Relations, 2005); similar sanctions were also imposed on Sudan by the United States in 1997 and the UN in 2005 for supporting Janjaweed; and Afghanistan in 1999 for supporting the Taliban. In other cases, sanctions have been imposed due to violence and civil wars in countries such as Somalia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Furthermore, the breakdown of democratic governance in Haiti, coupled with massive human rights violations has led to the imposition of sanctions on the country.
Article 39 of the UN Charter states: “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security” (UN General Assembly Resolution 3314, 1976; Vark, 2009). A more complicated and controversial issue is the increased willingness of the Security Council to determine the very internal situations that meet the requirements of Article 39, particularly those that do not materially threaten international peace in the sense of potentially provoking an international armed conflict or breach of international peace. Massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law as well as massive displacement and suffering of civilian populations deriving from or increased by internal armed conflicts (with or without external support) have prompted the Security Council to take action under Chapter VII. Chapter VII of the UN Charter titled “action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression” gives the Security Council the power to determine an action deemed to be a threat to international peace and security. Under Articles 39 through 43, it further empowers the Security Council to take either military or non-military action, in order to restore international peace and security (Charter of the United Nations and Statute of the International Court of Justice, 1985). The above provision of the Charter implies that the Security Council may employ non-military measures such as sanctions. This raises the question of whether sanctions have the capacity to improve the well-being of the citizens of sanctioned regimes. Sanctions adopted under Article 41 have the following reach:
“The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations” (Charter of the United Nations and Statute of the International Court of Justice, 1985).
In essence, sanctions are formulated as general prohibitions to carry out certain transactions or activities with target States particularly those that will provide them with economic benefit. The institutional role of the United Nations in the implementation and enforcement of sanctions is mainly discharged by the “sanction committees.” The committees are composed of all the members of the Security Council at any given time, which thus may perpetuate the advantages deriving from permanent membership. Sanction committees are political/administrative bodies whose practice and procedures can be quite complex, prone to politicization and at times bewildering to the observer. The sanction committee meetings are convened in private sessions, which make it impossible for the public to scrutinise their activities. In my analysis, this lack of transparency explains to a certain extent why the activities of the sanctions committee are viewed as highly politicised.
The rationale often cited for the imposition of sanctions is the hope to resolve a conflict without mass suffering and other negative consequences associated with war. However, reality shows that sanctions particularly economic sanctions are not alternative to war judging by their humanitarian impact. Instead their impacts on civilians are similar to those produced by warfare. As such, it is ill to misinform the public by presenting sanctions as a soft approach that can be used to compel or pressure an offender, specifically the government of a State, to behave in line with the doctrine of the international community or the body imposing sanctions. This tool of international relations, despite its increased use, has produced limited success. According to Peter Wallensteen, studies show that 30 percent of sanctions at most have achieved their desired goal (Wallensteen, 2000). While Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott in their book Economic Sanctions Reconsidered conclude that 34 percent of the sanctions undertaken between 1914 and 1990 were effective. They further conclude that the success rate is declining. While 44 percent of the sanctions efforts undertaken before 1973 were classified as successes, only 24 percent of post-1973 sanctions efforts were successful (Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott, 1991). The contrast in the recorded success of sanctions and its continuous use as a moderate tool of international diplomacy shows that there are other reasons for the increased use of sanction measures other than to restore international peace and security as permitted by the UN Charter. Thus, I will examine the history and use of sanctions, some of the problems associated with sanctions and most importantly how sanctions have affected the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe. Obviously, the case of Zimbabwe has become a dilemma to the international community owing to the fact that economic situation in the country has been deteriorating on daily basis from 2001 when the US imposed sanctions on them until the time of writing this research. However, for humanitarian reasons and because of security considerations, I believe that to remain passive and/or complicit is not an option. Although reality is in fact more complex, nevertheless, the discussion in academic and policy making circles should focus the debate on whether continued sanctions is the proper way to coerce leaders of Zimbabwe to behave in the desired way, rather than assisting the suffering masses.
This study therefore, provides an understanding of international relations by going beyond the description of the subject matter (sanctions) and explains how the system and the units of the system might be transformed. The study believes that our present world system requires an overhaul, one that will foster durable peace by substituting violence with selfless diplomacy and moral imagination of peace. Foucault (1977) shows how discipline and punishment in the world changed over time as the people informed the governments of what types of punishment and discipline were acceptable. The role of the people was determined by the society in which they lived. The people in turn redefined acceptable practices in the society. The same can be applied to States in the international system with respect to coercive economic sanctions. The system provides meaning to being a State. The States then redefine acceptable practices in the system. In this manner the system and the States may be transformed. Thus the responsibility of transforming the international system; substituting violent conflict transformation mechanisms such as the use of military force and economic sanctions lies on the people (you and I) to push for a change in the global system. One way of achieving this however, is by reviewing the methods and mechanisms presently in use, analysing these methods and/or mechanisms against cause and effect.
I do not intend to hide my values nor pretend to be value free, rather the priority of this work is underpinned in a desire for positive and durable peace. This I believe could be achieved through protection of fundamental human rights which are “inalienable” so to say. At the heart of my argument is that substituting violent measures and/or mechanisms with real diplomacy will not only guarantee durable peace, it will also avoid grave humanitarian consequences associated with our present conflict transformation tools. Therefore, this research is not in a anyway disparaging or proscribing sanctions rather it reviews them in such a manner that glaringly show that even when the political goals of imposing such coercive measures are achieved their impact on human development remain a concern whilst their continued usage is condemnable. For this reason, this research analyses sanctions in general but particularly economic sanction from the perspective of human rights and well-being of civilian victims of sanction measures. By doing this, I review international humanitarian laws and certain sections of the United Nations Charter and their predisposition on the use of sanctions for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security and/or protection of human rights.
Sanctions have been a tool of economic statecraft for many centuries dating back to the 5th century. In the 5th century B.C., when the Megra Empire supported Sparta, a City-State that was considered an enemy of the Athenian Empire, Pericles, a statesman in Athens, ordered a trade ban between the Athenian Empire and the Megra. Short of going to war, the message transmitted was that Athens would punish anyone who challenged its authority (Thucydides, 1972: 118). The use of sanctions as a tool of international policy started after World War I with a proclamation by the then US president Woodrow Wilson. He suggested to the League of Nations that the adoption of sanctions would help keep the world free of war. He described sanctions as a “peaceful, silent, deadly remedy” (Gordon, 1999).
For the most part sanctions were rarely used in the 20th century. During the Cold War, the quest by both the USSR and the United States to gain a competitive edge over each other led them to support and co-operate with corrupt and brutal leaders (Shane, 2004). This policy made sanctions unpopular and ineffective during the period. Before the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the United Nations sanctioned only two countries, Rhodesia and South Africa. The end of the Cold War ushered in a new era and a new set of countries were sanctioned. As reported by Hughes (2007) they include Iraq (1990), the former Yugoslavia (1991, 1992, and 1998), Libya (1992), Liberia (1992), Somalia (1992), parts of Cambodia (1992), Haiti (1993), parts of Angola (1993, 1997, and 1998), Rwanda (1994), Sudan (1996), Sierra Leone (1997), and Afghanistan (1999) and others. They were sanctioned for reasons ranging from external and internal aggression, suppression of democracy and support of terrorism (Chan and Drury, 2000:3). Within this period, the United States rose to world superpower status, giving greater authority to its unilateral sanctions. Scholars such as Haass (1998) and Delevic (1998) argue that the economic interests of the United States, combined with its reluctance to deploy its military force to address economic, moral, and political issues gave rise to increased use of unilateral sanctions by the United States. In 1998, one commentator estimated that “two-thirds of the world’s population was subject to some sort of US sanctions” (Dunne, 1998: 2). However, the United States is not the only country imposing economic sanctions; the European Union has also been sponsoring its own brand of sanctions.
Many scholars and organizations have argued against the use of economic sanctions because of its horrific humanitarian consequences. Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott (1990) did a comprehensive and extensive study on sanctions, having researched 116 case studies since World War I. The most important conclusion from their findings is that sanctions have a historical poor track record, with respects to performance, cause and effect (Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott, 1990). The first and second UN sanctions imposed against South Africa and Rhodesia were perceived to be successful. The euphoria of using sanctions partially or wholly in achieving compliance in the behaviours of these regimes earned sanctions a monumental position in international relations. If I may say, it was overwhelming to use “ordinary” sanctions to remove the apartheid regime from power. However, the success accredited to sanctions against the apartheid regime, has been challenged by scholars on notable grounds. One of them, Philip Levy, argues that the situation in South Africa was unique and certainly not possible to replicate when he posits thus: “the truth is that they failed to distinguish the unique apartheid regime in South Africa with other situations in which sanctions are imposed” (Levy, 1999). Apart from Levy, legal positivists also argue that sanctions do not conform to international laws or the United Nations declaration of rights. They conclude that both are inconsistent and incoherent. Also, Joy Gordon argues in support of this motion when she describes economic sanctions as siege and refers to them as a form of warfare (Gordon, 1999). Furthermore, the conservative Heritage Foundation, an American “Think Tank” organization, does not support sanctions. Instead, it cautions against the excessive utilization of sanctions as a foreign policy tool and points to the adverse effects they can have on all involved parties. The United Nations in her report tagged, “Bossuyt Report,” gave an in-depth analysis of sanctions, adjudging it from the perspective of human rights and incorporating legal aspects of international law. The report criticizes the fact that there is “hardly any mention of human rights and humanitarian law norms” in the usual debate about sanctions within the United Nations assembly and the Security Council (Bossuyt, 2000). Having provided a general overview of sanctions, this study examines how economic sanctions affect the well-being of victims, particularly the vulnerable human beings within the Zimbabwean societies.
According to the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, sanctions are valuable instruments in international efforts to safeguard peace and security and to promote democracy and human rights. They represent coercive measures that supplement supportive measures in the areas of diplomacy and development assistance with the same objectives. Sanctions mean ‘restrictions,’ limiting the freedom of a State, a group or its leaders to act. They are imposed through a collective decision by other States. This is done because the international community wants to use peaceful means to influence the behaviour of the State, group or individual through various economic and political measures. They may be employed to change the policies of a State that threatens international peace and security; to defuse a conflict in a country; to induce a State to cease systematic violations of human rights; or to compel a State to adopt certain democratic principles. Sanctions differ from other foreign policy instruments in that they are regulated through legal provisions. They are precisely formulated and violating them may result in penalties. Sanctions are intended to be of a temporary nature and regularly reviewed in light of developments. When their objectives have been achieved, they are to be removed (Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 2007).
I chose the above definition by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs because it offers broad and detailed information about sanctions; providing limit and duration for applying them. Nonetheless, I personally do not agree completely with the above definition; however, I find it important to represent the two sides of the coin. I take issue with part of the definition due to its claim that sanctions are used to promote peace and security. Contrary to this view, this research explains that sanctions distort peace and have proved to be incapable of achieving international peace and security. Also, the understanding that sanctions are a legal instrument is “tricky.” I agree that they are instruments permitted by the UN Charter; however, the use of economic sanctions contradicts the UN declaration of human rights, which emphasizes the “right to live in dignity.” I argue that economic sanctions deny civilians of a target State the opportunity to live in dignity due to the negative consequences and aspects often associated with such measures. In Chapter three and four, I provide more facts to buttress the argument raised here in my analysis of the impact of sanctions on the rights and well-being of the civilian population of Zimbabwe.
According to Margaret P. Doxey, sanctions are penalties threatened or imposed as a declared consequence of the target’s failure to observe international standards or international obligations (Doxey, 1996). By this definition, it means that all those who happen to reside in a sanction target area are culpable of the crime or offence for which sanctions are imposed. The use of such generalizations criminalizes civilians and at the same time provides justification for those who employ such coercive measures on civilians.
Also, sanctions have been defined as a broad range of reactions adopted unilaterally or collectively by States against the perpetrator of an internationally unlawful act in order to ensure respect for and performance of a right or obligation (Decaux, 2008).
Laura Forlati Picchio asserts: “A sanction would be any conduct that is contrary to the interests of the State at fault, that serves the purpose of reparation, punishment or perhaps prevention, and that is set out in or simply not prohibited by international law’’ (Picchio, 1974; Decaux, 2008).
Furthermore, sanctions are defined as a calculated attempt by one party to control, compel and induce change in the behaviour of another party without the use of weapon and military offensives. Sanctions often have uncertain and irreversible consequences and can cause great human suffering. However, they have also been successful in changing the behaviour of the opponents. Sanctions and threats of sanctions have been credited to have the capabilities of curbing human rights violations, ousting belligerent leaders and limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (Shane, 2004).
In analysing the definitions provided above and the good intentions of sanctions as given by the bodies that impose them, I argue that it is problematic to employ any measure or action that has grave humanitarian consequences on the civilian population. Previous experiences have shown that in many cases economic sanctions failed to achieve their goals. Instead, they create suffering and hardship on civilians to whom they are rhetorically intended to help.
From the viewpoint of President Woodrow Wilson and the United Nations, sanctions are instruments of a diplomatic or economic nature that seek to bring about change in activities or policies, such as violations of international law or human rights or policies that do not respect the rule of law or democratic principles. They come in different forms, such as comprehensive and targeted sanctions, unilateral and multilateral sanctions. Also, there are other types of sanctions that are comprised of arms embargoes, restrictions on admission (visa or travel bans) or other measures (as appropriate) (European Commission, 2008).
In 1999, the Strategic Planning Unit in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General notes:
“There is a widespread consensus that, when confronting major transgressions of international law, the international community needs some instrument of persuasion that lies between diplomatic censure, on the one hand, and war, on the other. For this purpose, there is no real alternative to sanctions” (Mack and Khan, 1999: 104).
In any case, the international community considers sanctions as a middle ground between traditional diplomacy and the use of military force. Therefore, if diplomacy fails, in the absence of going to war sanctions fulfils a gap.
Comprehensive economic sanctions are measures that seek to deny a target State access to all international financial, trade and service interactions (Doxey, 1996: 139). In this type of sanction, the target State is denied access to international markets and other sources of finance and funding, with the exception of those exempted on humanitarian grounds. Since the establishment of the UN, it has imposed four comprehensive economic sanctions, in Rhodesia, South Africa, Yugoslavia and Iraq. Apart from the UN, the United States and the European Union have also been imposing comprehensive economic sanctions and using international institutions, such as the World Bank and the IMF, as allies to enforce such sanctions. The case of Zimbabwe is one example of economic sanctions by the US and the EU, which is being enforced in alliance with international financial agencies (IMF, World Bank and AfDB), thereby making the effect severe on the target State and mostly its citizens.
In two of the four cases, Rhodesia and South Africa, comprehensive economic sanctions contributed only in a secondary way to achieving the objective of the sanctions (Watson Institute for International Studies, 2004). In the case of Iraq, most of the concessions were achieved not singularly by the use of sanctions, but combined by the use of force. Overall, comprehensive economic sanctions have not achieved major goals without being combined with or preceded by the threat or use of force (Watson institute for international studies, 2004). In the latter half of the 1990’s, comprehensive sanctions became the object of criticism from various scholars and analysts, such as Baldwin (1985), Tostenson and Bull (2002) and Andreas (2005). The primary focus of critics was the negative humanitarian impact they had upon civilian populations. In this regard, Carne Ross, First Secretary at the UK Permanent Mission to the UN from 1999 to 2003 states, “I do not think that comprehensive economic sanctions should ever be imposed, on any country, ever again, because of what they did to the Iraqi people” (U.K. Parliament 1/6/2006).
Similarly, Hans Von Sponeck, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq between 1998 and 2000, argues that humanitarian exemptions were sufficient to “limit the severity of the human costs of comprehensive economic sanctions sufficiently to make its use legitimate.” Through this statement, he acknowledges that comprehensive economic sanctions without humanitarian exemptions are illegitimate. However, Dr. Kim Howells, a British parliamentarian, argues differently and supports comprehensive economic sanctions:
“I do not think we can abandon the weapon of comprehensive sanctions because there will be situations in the future, as I suspect there may even be at the moment, where comprehensive sanctions probably could do more good than damage” (House of Lords, Select Committee on Economic Affairs, 2nd Report of Session 2006-07: 16).
A study by Watson Institute on humanitarian costs of comprehensive sanctions concluded that civilian suffering caused by such measures often overshadows their potential political gains. Moreover, comprehensive sanctions complicate the work of humanitarian agencies, cause long-term damage to the productive capacity of target nations and unfairly penalize their neighbours, who are often their major trading partners (Weiss, Cortright, Lopez and Minear, 1997). In response to these criticisms against comprehensive sanctions as well as an increase in calls to reform sanction instruments, the international community shifted grounds and adopted targeted sanctions directed against policymakers responsible for reprehensible policies and the elites who benefit from and support them.
Targeted sanctions are designed to target specific persons, groups and entities responsible for the objectionable policies or behaviour. Mostly, such sanctions comprise both an obligation to freeze all funds and economic resources of the targeted persons and entities and a prohibition on making funds or economic resources available directly or indirectly to or for the benefit of these persons and entities. Additionally, it can be a sort of travel ban on a specific entity, person or group of persons. Targeted sanctions make intuitive sense and seem to respond directly to the criticisms against comprehensive sanctions. Why not direct sanctions against the architects of the policies opposed by the international community, rather than against civilians? In this way, targeted sanctions theoretically address the adverse humanitarian effects of comprehensive sanctions. If designed and implemented effectively, only dictators, demagogues, rebel leaders and their supporters would need to fear the effects of targeted sanctions.
This type of sanctions has been in existence for long though they are new in the “toolbox” of the United Nations. Evidence could be seen from the Nürnberg and Tokyo tribunal. At the tribunal which was set up following World War II, individuals found culpable of international crimes were sanctioned. Despite its long time in history, the focus on multilateral sanctions in the sense of Article 41 on targeted individuals has only remained an academic exercise. The end of Cold War however, ushered in a new era in the functioning of the Security Council. The Council experienced improvement in its decision making process, paving way for more successful sanctions regimes being imposed. However, the success accredited to sanctions faced serious setback; their impacts on the civilian population were lethal. The impact of these sanctions became apparent with the case of Iraq; thus the utility of economic sanctions were put to question. UN agencies, such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization, as well as nongovernmental organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross, documented the continuing nature of the crisis, including starvation and malnutrition, the deterioration of the national health care system, widespread of epidemics, shortages of electricity, and many other humanitarian issues.
In the wake of these concerns, the call for more targeted sanctions grew loudly. As a result of massive outcry from different quarters, the Security Council deemed it pertinent to review its sanctions instrument in a way that it would not have broad humanitarian impact. This gave way for the adoption of targeted sanctions by the council. Sanctions against individuals and other non-State actors that were identified as a more direct threat to international peace and security than entire populations of a State were the logical consequence (Gordon, 2011). By imposing targeted sanction, it sends a clear message to those who have been subject to it that their behaviour specifically, rather than the broader issue, of for example, hostilities within a State, is considered worthy of being subjected to economic sanctions. It is also a strongly symbolic gesture, which may serve to discourage other States from supporting the rogue regime.
This brand of sanctions were first imposed on the government of Libya in 1992 and later used against the regime of Raoul Cedras in Haiti in 1994 (Watson Institute for International Studies, 2004). However, targeted sanctions have been characterized with inconsistent implementation, and there are issues of ambiguity in identifying the specific targeted individuals. Again, a key example is the case of Haiti in 1994.
Scholarly works on the UN economic sanctions against Iraq revealed that the sanctions caused terrible humanitarian suffering on the civilian population. This raised question about who the actual or intended target of the sanctions are. Firstly, unlike earlier economic sanctions regime, as economic sanctions against Iraq progressed it became clear that the ordinary citizens of Iraq were suffering significant humanitarian problems as a consequence of the sanctions. Secondly, those ordinary Iraqi citizens, despite their suffering, had no control over the actions of the State that had prompted the imposition of sanctions on the country. The question that comes to mind in a situation such as Iraq is: why are economic sanctions imposed on a country since they are missing their intended target? As Sponeck (1984: 483) notes, “the assumption that economic pressure on the population would lead to political change at government level [...] turned out to be a fallacy with significant human costs. As such, subjecting them to sanctions could not be justified because they would not prompt regime change.” The use of targeted economic sanctions would, in light of these difficulties, have been a more proportionate measure as they would have been applied only on the individuals who could force change in Iraq and would therefore have reduced, if not eliminated, the humanitarian suffering experienced by the general population.
While targeted sanctions are less injurious to civilians than comprehensive economic sanctions, they are not without negative effects. First, it may not be possible to limit the economic effects of targeted sanctions to the intended targets alone. Most targets, be they individuals, groups, or economic sectors are embedded in a larger network of suppliers, service sector providers, and/or consumers, such that the effects of a targeted sanction cannot be entirely isolated to the targets. There will be an inevitable “trickle-down” effect on untargeted, unintended, and otherwise innocent actors.
Second, sanctions of any type, including targeted sanctions, create strong incentives for evasion. A political economy of sanctions evasion (illegal financial transfers, arms smuggling, commodity smuggling) can leave a legacy of corruption that may prove difficult to root out after sanctions have been lifted (Watson Institute for International Studies, 2004). The tradition and practices established, the lessons learned, and the lucrative benefits that derive from a regime of sanctions evasion may linger on in the form of unabated smuggling, tax evasion, and general corruption.
Third, targeting a person because of his or her membership of a certain group may be problematic. This is because there tend to be a hierarchy in every organization or group where top leaders make decisions that is carried out by each member of the group. In this case, targeted sanctions should focus on the leader of a group, who makes decisions with regard to the functioning of the group and takes full benefit of the financial position of the group, instead of ordinary members of a group, who has no power over the movement of the group and who may have joined out of undue pressure and/or coercion. For example, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda forcefully recruited children, drugging them and teaching them how to kill (Meredith, 2006: 563). Therefore, it is beyond logic to allege that such a child solider is culpable and economic sanctions will have any impact on his or her behaviour, which is controlled by the top hierarchy of the group. This creates a similar difficulty to sanctions taken against States, in that the sanctions may impact on persons who have little to do with the behaviour that prompted the use of sanctions. Thus targeted sanctions should be directed specifically at the leadership of the group or State in question.
Fourth, there are the unintended effects on neighbouring States in the way of “spill over.” The burdens of implementing targeted sanctions still fall disproportionately on certain States, particularly neighbouring States. These neighbouring States bear partly the impact of targeted sanctions and should be provided with technical assistance and means of special financial support by the international community, as specified in Article 50 of the UN Charter.
Another issue that needs consideration is the fact that, smart sanctions assume that the leaders can be separated from their populations in a simple way. However, this is not always the case. In some cases, the rulers built on a legitimacy which separated them from the rest of the population. In other cases, however, regime leaders may be seen as representatives of entire groups. Ian Smith of Rhodesia and Milosevic of Serbia are examples. As Barbara Geddes, puts it:
“Different kinds of authoritarianism differ from each other as much as they differ from democracy. Their leaders emerge from different groups and via different selection processes. They rely on different segments of society for support. They have different procedures for making decisions, and different interest groups influence policies. Intra-elite factionalism and competition take different forms in different kinds of dictatorship, and consequently succession occurs in different ways. They deal with ordinary citizens, opposition and members of the elite group in different ways” (Geddes, 2004: 5).
Base on this fact, targeted sanctions should not be used as an instrument just to punish and/or remove a particular leader; rather its focus should be on changing the thinking of an entire political elite group (Wallensteen, 2000: 12). The reason being that, if a particular leader or regime is undermined by smart or targeted sanctions, they are bound to be replaced by others, even “more brutal,” representatives of the same elite group in question (ibid). This implies that for a targeted or smart sanction to be effective, a proper analysis needs to be carried out on the target regime with respect to the strength of the representatives and associates of the incumbent regime.
In a related view Wallensteen (2000), asserts thusly: the “smart” approach can only achieve its desired goals if the leaders of a target State are dependent on international relations. On the contrary, smart sanctions can only serve a symbolic purpose. Evidence from history shows that financial operators are those that are most immediately hit by international sanctions, if traders, investors, and other commercial interests control the powers of a society, they are likely to be vulnerable to sanctions.
Finally, a new twist to the challenges faced by smart or targeted sanctions is that it becomes a way of singling out individuals for punishment of their actions. Thus, settlements of sanctions situations might include a factor of personal fear that has not been the case before. Whether such fears help to bring out a readiness to agree or rather results in increased defiance needs to be considered. Whatever be the case, smart or targeted sanctions do open up new possibilities and would be interesting to explore further.
An arms embargo is a type of sanction imposed to stop the flow of arms and military equipment to conflict areas or to regimes that are likely to use them for internal repression or aggression against a foreign State. The use of arms embargoes has been on the rise since the 1990’s, and many institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations, the Arab League and others have implemented them at one point or another. Also individual countries such as the United States have used arms embargoes in a form of unilateral embargoes against States, organizations or groups of people.
In the case of the United Nation, arms embargoes are imposed by resolutions adopted under the authority of Chapter VII, Article 41, by at least nine of the fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including all five permanent members. The Security Council has two types of arms embargo: voluntary and mandatory. Voluntary arms embargoes are invoked through the Security Council resolutions and call for member States to end the supply of arms, ammunition, military material and related services to a target. The symbolic part of this type of arms embargo is the “request to cease supply” to target States or groups (Baldwin, 1997). Mandatory arms embargoes are also invoked through the Security Council resolutions; it is an order that prohibits the sale or supply of arms, ammunitions, military equipment and related services by member States to a target. Mandatory UN arms embargoes legally oblige UN members to enforce them, having pledged in Chapter I, Article 2(5), of the UN Charter to refrain from giving assistance to any State against which the UN is taking preventive or enforcement action (Fruchart et al., 2007).
In order to engage in the argument of arms embargoes, it is important to point out that arms embargoes in the Middle East or the arms embargoes against South Africa were violated in many ways, and studies on the Tripartite Agreement concluded that the arms embargoes had not been properly implemented (Harkavy, 1975, Wulf, 1986, Brzoska, 1991). Also, recent studies on the United Nations arms embargoes by scholars such as Cortright and Lopez (2000); Bondi, (2002); Fruchart et al. (2007), show that arms embargoes have a reputation for being ineffective, poorly designed and implemented. In all, the United Nations has imposed 27 mandatory arms embargoes administered by the UN sanctions committee (Hufbauer, Schott, and Elliott, 1990). The essence of these embargoes is to compel targets to seek peaceful resolution to conflict, restore or strengthen legitimate governments, cease support for international terrorist organizations and also to abandon nuclear proliferation and programmes to acquire weapons of mass destruction (Ki-moon, 2007). According to Bondi, (2002), these objectives often cited for imposing arms embargos are rarely achievable.
Two major reasons have been identified for the frequent use of UN arms embargoes in the post-Cold War era. The first reason given involves efforts by the UN to play a global role in maintaining world peace and security, thereby using arms embargoes as a tool (Tierny, 2005; Bondi, 2001). Another reason is the perception that arms embargoes are “smarter” than comprehensive economic and trade sanctions, by targeting elites of States and thereby limiting humanitarian impacts (Brzoska, 2002).
Against all the claims of good intentions rooted in arms embargos, there have been criticisms regarding its application and implementation. Assessment of UN arms embargoes imposed in the 1990’s have shown clearly the failures and inability of arms embargoes to stop the flow of arms and/or to influence significant changes in the behaviour of target regions and entities (Cortright and Lopez, 2000). Furthermore, Bondi (2002) and Baldwin (1997) argue that arms embargoes fail because they are primarily of symbolic rather than practical value. They are imposed very late, with unclear definition of coverage scope, lack of unity and commitment of the five permanent members of the Security Council to enforce the embargoes and, most importantly, there is a clear lack of political will to punish those who violate the embargoes, particularly within the Security Council permanent member States (Fruchart et al., 2007; Brzoska, 2008; Ohlson, 1987). Thus, arms embargoes can only achieve their goals if the supplier governments support the goals of the embargo; however, supplier governments generally are not willing to enforce the implementation to a significant degree (Bondi, 2002; Control Arms, 2006).
Restrictions on admission are a type of targeted sanctions, where an individual or group of individuals are banned from entry into, or transit through, the territories of the State or group of States that is/are imposing the ban. This type of sanction has been used unilaterally by the United States mostly to fight terrorism. Additionally, the European Union has adopted this measure against people whose behaviours contradict international norms or are deemed to be a threat to public peace and security. For example, in February of 2011, the EU imposed a travel ban on former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and 25 members of his family and inner circle. The ban was a restriction to territories that belong to the European Union. Also on 12 March 2014, the EU imposed travel ban on 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials for their role in what the EU consider an inversion of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of independent Ukraine. In the wording of the EU document outlining the measures: “Member States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into, or transit through, their territories of the natural persons responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” (BBC News, 2014; Santa and Baker, 2014). Although the sanctions are imposed by the EU, their implementation is in alliance with the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, Japan and Canada; an effort to ensure the sanctions net is as tight and effective as possible. However, the enforcement of travel ban may be difficult in certain situations.
I use the EU as an example of how challenging the enforcement of a travel ban may be. The EU is made up of 27 member States. When a travel ban is imposed on an individual or entity by the EU, it is expected that the 27 member States will enforce the ban. However, within the EU is the Vatican City, which is an observer State to the United Nations but not a member State of the EU. The implication of this is that a person(s) banned from entry or transit from the EU can visit the Vatican City. An example to buttress this assertion is the case of Robert Mugabe who is sanctioned by the EU and prohibited from visiting or transiting from EU territory. Despite EU travel ban being in place, Mugabe managed to attend the inauguration ceremony of Pope Francis held in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on March 19, 2013. This kind of situation makes the enforcement of a travel ban within the EU challenging. Finally as a general rule, the legal instrument imposing such restrictions allows for exemptions from the visa or travel ban on humanitarian and other grounds or in order to comply with obligations of a Member State under international law (European Commission, 2008).
Unilateral sanctions usually are trade and other economic embargoes which are imposed independently by one country on another. Research shows that the major purpose of unilateral sanctions is the advancement of sender’s foreign policy on the target. While international or comprehensive sanctions are being imposed by international bodies like the United Nations Security Council (in political cases) or the World Trade Organization (in economic ones), unilateral sanctions are imposed by a single State mostly on reasons that has to do with national interest. Increasingly, it is observed in our contemporary world that certain States impose unilateral sanctions against third party through application of national legislation. Thus, an increased use of unilateral sanctions by States particularly the United States raises concern that requires consideration. Although the use of sanctions arguably is permitted under the UN Charter, the use of unilateral sanctions are however questionable under the law. Therefore, a rational question to ask is whether unilateral sanctions are permissible under the international law or the UN Charter. An answer to this question will be provided in Chapter two where I will review unilateral sanctions in the light of international humanitarian law. Since one of our cases study, Zimbabwe is under the US Unilateral sanctions, this part of the research examines US unilateral sanctions episodes. It also reviews some of the reasons for imposing such measure on other countries and examines the efficacy of unilateral sanctions with respect to goal attainment.
More than any country in the world, the United States is increasingly employing unilateral economic sanctions against a number of countries (Haass, 1997) particularly developing country mostly because of contrasting political issues. It is widely believed that an increase witnessed in the use of unilateral sanctions by the US is underpinned by its quest to influence political behaviour in the target States. For example, the US sanctions on Cuba which started on October 19, 1960, is believed to aim at influencing change in Cuba’s political system (from communism to democracy). Unfortunately, such measures often has drastic outcome as they hamper economic development in the target State and also the political well-being of their citizens.
The 1990’s, witnessed increased desire by the US to push its foreign policies abroad. This development paved the way for enactment of new laws and executive actions. As Jim Lobe reports, from 1993 to 1996, the US enacted 61 laws and executive actions authorizing the use of unilateral economic sanctions for foreign-policy purposes (Lobe, 1997). Consequently, a total of sixty-one countries were specifically targeted by US unilateral sanctions within this period (See figure 1. below).
Figure 1: Number of sanctions imposed by the US between 1993 and 1996.
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Source: http://archives.usaengage.org/archives/studies/nam2.html | National Association of Manufacturers, March 1997.
Analysts argue that the use of unilateral sanctions by the US is ineffective (Askari et.al. (2003). Shane (2004); The National Foreign Trade Council (2007); US Chamber of Commerce (2014), pointed that none of the sanctions were able to significantly change the policy of targets to meet US demands rather they create a “backlog” on US foreign relations (the US sanctions episodes in Cuba and the Soviet Union are cited as examples). Also the National Association of Manufacturers, in March 1997 reported that unilateral sanctions reduce US export, resulting in lower revenues and lost jobs. In addition, the Commerce Department estimate that the oil embargo against the Soviet Union in the 1980’s caused a total loss of about $2 billion to US direct export sales and argues that the indirect impact may even be higher. Furthermore, (Kaempfer and Lowenberg, 2000: 13) allege that unilateral sanctions place US companies at a disadvantage relative to their foreign competitors. While Hufbauer et.al (1997), reports that from 1995 sanctions may have cost the US a loss of almost $19 billion per year in export and about 200,000 to 260,000 jobs in export related business. In addition Enerst Preeg of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) writes that the actual figure is far beyond what commentators have to provide (Collins and Bowdoin, 1999). Against all the negative perception of unilateral sanctions, Washington has continued to believe in the efficacy of this measure in the pursuit of its foreign policy and agenda. In the words of a former Secretary of State George Schultz, unilateral sanctions are a form of “light-switch diplomacy.” Schultz perceives foreign trade (trade between one country and another) as a tool of foreign policy which can be turned on and off like a light. Despite arguments for and against unilateral sanctions, some reasons have been identified for adopting the measure (See figure 2):
Figure 2: Reasons for imposing unilateral sanctions
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Source: http://archives.usaengage.org/archives/studies/nam2.html | National Association of Manufacturers, March 1997.
Economic sanctions are “coordinated restrictions on trade and financial transactions intended to impair economic life within a given territory” (Davidsson, 2003: 4). It consists of export and/or import bans, trade sanctions which may apply to specific products such as oil, timber or diamonds, also bans on the provision of specific services brokering, financial services, technical assistance, flight bans, prohibitions on investment, payments and capital movements or the withdrawal of tariff preferences.
An attempt by scholars to provide comprehensive analysis of economic sanctions has produced a broad range of different classifications. For example, Hufbauer, Schott and Elliot (1990) put economic sanctions into three categories (1) limiting export to target (2) restriction of targets export (3) impeding finance available to target through suspension and/or withdrawal of aid. Daoudi and Dajani (1983) basing their analysis on international affairs perspective, classified them into five (1) impediment to technology (2) restriction on supply of arm and other war munitions (3) restriction of raw materials available to target (4) restriction on targets import (5) international boycott. Perhaps the reason for classifying economic sanctions by scholars is to elaborate on areas and/or sectors where their impact are felt most or where they intend to affect, however this classifications seen not too relevant as a widely held opinion is that the measures are “anti-civilian well-being.” Further research reveals that not only do economic sanctions have adverse economic impact on their target; they also affect the economy of the sender State(s). Askari (2003: 90) writes that economic sanctions affect the following economic variables in the sanctioning/sender State(s) and also target State: (a) Profits and revenues of State owned enterprises; (b) Profits and revenues of private owned enterprises; (c) Sales and export; (d) Employment; (e) Economic growth; (f) Development; (g) Revenues and taxes to government; (h) Standard of living; (i) Wages. However, the impact is felt differently as that of the target is often massive compare to the sender.
Since the main goal of economic sanctions is to limit resources available to a regime on which sanctions are imposed, the expected result is to force the regime to accept the policies for which sanctions are imposed. In order to achieve this goal, the party that imposes sanctions intentionally harm the civilian population of a sanctioned State or region by reducing their access to basic needs, such as gasoline. The assumption of those who advocate for economic sanctions is that the locus of political power resides within the people of such countries, and that pressure on the people will induce them to vote out or overthrow their corrupt leaders. Contrary to this assumption, the locus of political power in most impoverished nations, such as Zimbabwe, lies within the entrenched tribal, religious and political class, who are willing to use whatever force necessary to protect their interests. Therefore, it is inapposite for proponents of economic sanctions to impoverish civilians with the hope that economic hardship will instigate civil resistance against regimes or leaders of a target State.
The UN was founded against the background of World War II and following the failure of the League of Nations. Whilst the objective of the UN is to maintain international peace and security, there was a need to have a means in place to address conflict when it did arise. The means of dealing with such conflict was provided for in Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Chapter VII of the UN Charter provides the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with powers to decide measures to be taken should there be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or an act of aggression’ in order to prevent that threat or breach from escalating (Article 39, UN Charter). Aside from the option of calling upon a transgressor to comply with provisional measures, the UN can take military actions under Article 42 or non-military action under Article 41 (ibid). In my opinion, the provisions of Article 41 embodies David Kennedy’s assertion that reads “rather than operating as a stasis against violence, institutional energy must be harnessed to do the work of war without violence, or to deploy violence on behalf of peace” (Kennedy, 1987: 867).
When we conceptualize the wording of Article 41, it becomes obvious that from the decision to give the UNSC such power with respect to the invocation of economic sanctions, their development within the UN framework would be reactionary. The predecessor to the UN, the League of Nations, also had provisions for economic sanctions in its Covenant (The Covenant of the League of Nations, 1919). Under Article 16 of the Covenant, members of the League of Nations were obligated to automatically cease economic relations with any State that was deemed to have committed an act of war against any other member. This created uncertainty as to how economic sanctions would actually be triggered (Farrall, 2007: 53). A Committee of Jurists determined that the States themselves would be required to decide when an act of war had occurred that necessitated economic sanctions (Abi-Saab, 2001: 40). By making the above pronouncement, the Committee of Jurists provided Member States with leeway in determining when an act of war has occurred, resulting in the United States, France and Germany refusing to take part in the economic sanctions against Italy for its invasion of Ethiopia on grounds that it did not constitute an act of war (Scott 1973: 340).
In contrast to the League of Nations, the UN Charter places the decision to invoke economic sanctions in the hands of the Security Council, with States only responsible at the point of implementing the measures that the UNSC decides upon. This provides a trigger mechanism as to when economic sanctions will be invoked. However, it leaves the power to invoke economic sanctions in the hands of a small minority of States and, as such, economic sanctions (and other measures) may be taken in circumstances that do not reflect the will of the majority of UN Member States. Under the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions adopted on non-procedural matters require the affirmative vote of all five permanent members of the Council plus at least four non permanent members (Article 27(3), UN Charter). This gives the five permanent member of the Security Council an absolute veto on the invocation of economic sanctions. Although not envisaged in the UN Charter, it has become accepted practice that the voluntary abstention from or non-participation in a UNSC vote does not prevent a non-procedural resolution from passing (Kaul, 2002). This allows resolutions to pass in situations where States, although not rejecting the measures, are not offering their full support to them. Consequently, there is inherent concern on how decisions to impose sanctions on a particular country against another are being determined by the Security Council while at the same time; it undermines the credibility and justification for imposing some of the UN sanctions.
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