The Permanent Five as Enforcers of Controls on Weapons of Mass Destruction: Building on the Iraq ‘Precedent’?
Author: Damrosch, L.F.
Source: European Journal of International Law, Volume 13, Number 1, February 2002 , pp. 305-321(17)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The five permanent members of the Security Council form the core of an enforcement system against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The sanctions regime against Iraq shows commonality of interest among the five declared nuclear-weapons states to block the spread of WMD. This article first establishes the normative framework under which restraint of WMD is not simply a policy preference but a legal obligation rooted in widely-ratified treaties and general international law. After surveying multilateral non-proliferation regimes, the paper turns to the aspects of US law relevant to the imposition of non-proliferation sanctions, not just against Iraq but also against other violators. The Iraq sanctions are then compared to other proliferation cases (Libya; North Korea; India/Pakistan) where unilateral (US) or concerted multilateral sanctions have been an available enforcement tool in the decade of the Iraq sanctions. Sanctions practice concerning actual or potential proliferators suggests an incipient pattern of potential Security Council enforcement. The Iraq case is unique because of Iraq's violations from within the relevant legal regimes, and precedential because of the Security Council's response in signalling to potential violators that serious sanctions can follow the breach of non-proliferation obligations. Arguably, non-proliferation regimes are stronger and more credible because the Council stayed the course on Iraq.
Document Type: Original Article
Affiliations: Columbia University
Publication date: 2002-02-01
- The European Journal of International Law is firmly established as one of the world's leading journals in its field. With its distinctive combination of theoretical and practical approaches to the issues of international law, the journal offers readers a unique opportunity to stay in touch with the latest developments in this rapidly evolving area. Each issue of the EJIL provides a forum for the exploration of the conceptual and theoretical dimensions of international law as well as for up-to-date analysis of topical issues. Additionally, it is the only journal to provide systematic coverage of the relationship between international law and the law of the European Union and its Member States.