Sanctions are part of the UN toolbox to secure international peace and security. States are also increasingly relying on sanctions to pursue foreign policy objectives. It is noteworthy that both the UN and the EU have been gradually shifting from sanctions against states to sanctions targeting specific individuals and entities. However, targeted sanctions follow highly politicised procedures with little transparency; the criteria on which targeted sanctions are based risk either not being provided, or being too broadly and ambiguously phrased. This article reviews the mechanisms available to targeted individuals and entities to challenge the legality of sanctions. It starts with the experience that has matured before the EU courts to assess the current state of affairs and the limits this litigation may encounter. It then identifies alternative strategies to litigate sanctions, including by raising new claims based on criminal practice and using different legal fora such as the ICJ.
Originally published in The International Trade Law & Regulation (Int. T.L.R.) Journal.