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International Law

International Law (5th edn)

Malcolm Evans
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date: 21 July 2024

p. 52117. Countermeasures and Sanctionslocked

p. 52117. Countermeasures and Sanctionslocked

  • Nigel D White
  •  and Ademola Abass


This chapter focuses on the issue of enforcement by means of non-forcible measures. Two legal regimes are considered: non-forcible countermeasures taken by States (countermeasures) and non-forcible measures taken by international organizations (sanctions). Discussions cover emergence of a restricted doctrine of countermeasures as the modern acceptable form of self-help; partial centralization of coercion in international organizations; problems within each of these regimes along with limitations placed upon their application; coexistence of countermeasures based on a traditional view of international relations, alongside post-1945 development of centralized institutional responses. State and institutional practices that lie between the basic right of a State to take countermeasures to remedy an internationally wrongful act, and the power of international organizations to impose sanctions in certain circumstances are discussed. Finally, the legality of continued use by States of non-forcible reprisals, retorsion, and wider forms of economic coercion; and collective countermeasures imposed either multilaterally or institutionally are considered.

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