Crime and Sanctions: Beyond Sanctions as a Foreign Policy Tool

German Law Journal (Forthcoming)

45 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2023 Last revised: 9 Nov 2023

Date Written: June 14, 2023


Targeted sanctions, namely asset freezes and travel bans, are no longer the province of foreign policy alone. They are increasingly often used by governments in response to crime, such as corruption, human rights abuse, cybercrime, drug trafficking, and transnational organized crime writ large. Such sanctions are imposed based on permissive evidential standards, such as that of “credible evidence” or “reasonable grounds to suspect.” Their advent has added a new layer to a multi-tier system of state responses to crime. First, there is the traditional approach of criminal prosecution and conviction based on the criminal standard of proof. Second, one rung below is non-conviction based asset forfeiture, a notionally civil confiscation of supposed proceeds of crime that eschews the need for compliance with a suite of criminal trial safeguards. At the third level of this hierarchy are crime-based targeted sanctions, which vest the state with the greatest latitude in dealing with suspected criminals. Based on a wide-ranging analysis of international practice, this article contends that not only are crime-based sanctions de facto a criminal justice tool, but also that a coherent set of principles is required to determine their relationship with other responses to criminal behavior.

Keywords: targeted sanctions; corruption; human rights abuse; cybercrime; drug trafficking; transnational organized crime

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Moiseienko, Anton, Crime and Sanctions: Beyond Sanctions as a Foreign Policy Tool (June 14, 2023). German Law Journal (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:

Anton Moiseienko (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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