The UN Security Council (Security Council) has the task to maintain and restore the international peace and security. As a part of this task, it has the competence to impose targeted sanctions against individuals and entities that commit violations of international humanitarian law, when this poses a threat to the international peace. In recent years—since 2004—the Security Council expressly created the possibility to actually make use of this competence by adopting listing criteria towards that end in eight different sanctions regimes. Indeed, many individuals and substantially less entities have been listed by the Security Council or a sanctions committee (partly) because they committed violations of international humanitarian law. This tool has also been used against armed groups and their leaders in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that violated international humanitarian law (IHL), e.g. by recruiting and using children. The studies into the two cases showed that these measures have not been implemented effectively and that it is not clear what exactly armed groups should do in order to have the measures against them lifted. More generally, it is questionable whether the Security Council is the best organ to deal with violations of IHL and whether targeted sanctions are useful in ensuring respect for IHL. Because the practice of imposing sanctions in response to violations of IHL is quite new, it is possible that relevant concerns, especially practical problems, can and will be addressed in the future. However, even then, it is problematic to leave the enforcement of IHL to the Security Council.
By entering this website, you consent to the use of technologies, such as cookies and analytics, to customise content, advertising and provide social media features. This will be used to analyse traffic to the website, allowing us to understand visitor preferences and improving our services. Learn more