Chicago Journal of International Law


The UN's thirteen-year-old sanctions regime against Iraq marked a watershed development in the application of economic coercion by the United Nations. These measures-the most extensive and most prolonged ever applied by the United Nations-became the most economically devastating on their targeted citizenry, as well as the most politically controversial among human rights advocates. Given these circumstances, it is useful to assess both the impact of these sanctions on the economy and society of Iraq and the lawfulness of Security Council sanctions application in light of international humanitarian law. From this analysis we should be able to gauge what implications flow from the Iraq sanctions operation for future UN sanctions as instruments of UN peacekeeping. To these ends, Part II of this article briefly examines the nature, means, and processes of UN sanctions operations. The Iraqi sanctions experience is then assessed in Part III, to determine its economic and social impacts on the people and government of Iraq. Part IV critically distills and evaluates the lessons to be drawn from the Iraqi sanctions experience. Finally, Part V proffers some conclusions for critical reflection.

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