Extraterritorial sanctions are against international law

Quotations from the book "Schweizer Vorträge" (The Swiss Lectures) by Hans Köchler

“The most serious problem of unilateral sanctions, as far as international law is concerned, is the above-mentioned […]extraterritoriality, i.e. the violation of economic rights – or sovereignty rights, respectively – of third parties. Under no circumstances is it acceptable in legal terms that third states – which are not involved in a dispute a state may have with another state – are subjected to unilateral sanctions of that state against the second state. Third-party states must not be drawn into a bilateral conflict by way of an extraterritorial enforcement of sanctions. No state has the right to dictate to other states, or companies in other states, how they should go about their business.” 

Hans Köchler, The Swiss Lectures. World Order and the Rule of Law. 

“The sanctioning state usually ignores the legal problems caused by such an exaggerated assertion of national sovereignty (namely the extraterritorial enforcement of sanctions). Lip service at the United Nations notwithstanding, the overriding goal is not the promotion of the international rule of law, but simply to induce the sanctioned state to change its policy. As such demands are almost always made in situations where there exists an imbalance of power relations, appealing to a judicial tribunal is a waste of time for the sanctioned state. The only effective response will be retaliatory measures by the sanctioned state (on its own, if this is at all an option, or in alliance with other states).”

(loc. cit.)

“It does not require further explanation why bilateral sanctions cannot be applied extraterritorially. A state, imposing penalties on another state, is not authorized to prohibit, or put conditions on, economic cooperation of third parties with the sanctioned state. In the case in question, this also applies to European companies and individuals in their business relations with Russia.” 

(loc. cit.)

Professor Dr phil. Dr mult. h.c. Hans Köchler served as Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck (Austria) from 1990 until 2008; Co-founder and president (since 1972) of the International Progress Organization (Vienna). Since 2018 member of the Faculty of the Academy for Cultural Diplomacy (Berlin). Appointed member of the University Council of the Berlin University of Digital Science.

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