Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 21, p. 133, 1999
14 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2009
Date Written: April 1, 2009
This article examines international economic sanctions through the lens of just war principles. It argues that the laws of just war impose significant limits on the use of indiscriminate economic sanctions as a tool of international coercion. While there are legitimate times to use economic sanctions, including self-defense and furthering humanitarian goals, just war theory insists that sanctions be used as a last resort and to achieve clearly articulated goals. Moreover, the indiscriminate nature of many sanctions policies offends the laws of war by intentionally targeting civilians. This article calls for more discriminating means of economic sanctions designed to harm only those people of a sanctioned state that can properly be viewed as combatants.
Keywords: economic sanctions, just war principles
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation