Contemporary views on the lawfulness of naval blockades
Martin David Fink
Host item entries:
Aegean review of the law of the sea and maritime law, Vol. 1, Issue 2, October 2011, p. 191-215
The traditional law of blockade has several technical requirements that if not met renders a blockade unlawful. These traditional requirements balance the interests of the belligerent and neutrals. A more contemporary view on the law of blockade, however, emphasizes that blockades are also subject to the restrictions and general obligations imposed by treaties and general principles of humanitarian law. Crucially, whether or not the consequences of a breach of humanitarian principles or humanitarian law render a naval blockade unlawful or not is however not at all clear. The recent use of naval blockades during the Israeli military operations has given rise again to the discussion as to what renders a blockade unlawful. The maturation of the law of blockade has seen an increasing willingness to embrace aspects of humanitarian law. However, the diversity of views from the international community as endorsed by the published reports on the flotilla incident demonstrates that there remains a lack of consensus and an active discussion on the state of the law of blockade.