Category Archives: Starving as a method of warfare

A Peaceful, Silent, Deadly Remedy: The Ethics of Economic Sanctions

A Peaceful, Silent, Deadly Remedy: The Ethics of Economic Sanctions

by Joy Gordon

in Ethics and International Affairs 04/2006

Joy Gordon is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Fairfield University. She received a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale and a J.D. from Boston University. Prior research interests include Latin American political thought. Her recent work is in Third World and leftist critiques of Western theories of human rights. Currently, she is writing a book on economic sanctions and their role within the larger context of international governance.

ABSTRACT

Economic sanctions are emerging as one of the major tools of international governance in the post-Cold War era. Sanctions have long been seen as a form of political intervention that does not cause serious human damage, and therefore does not raise pressing ethical questions. However, the nature of sanctions is that they effectively target the most vulnerable and least political sectors of society, and for this reason they must be subject to ethical scrutiny.This essay looks at sanctions in the context of three ethical frameworks: just war doctrine, deontological ethics, and utilitarianism. It argues that sanctions are inconsistent with the principle of discrimination from just war doctrine; that sanctions reduce individuals to nothing more than means to an end by using the suffering of innocents as a means of persuasion, thereby violating the Kantian principle that human beings are “ends in themselves”; and that sanctions are unacceptable from a utilitarian perspective because their economic effectiveness necessarily entails considerable human damage, while their likelihood of achieving political objectives is low
A Peaceful, Silent, Deadly Remedy: The Ethics of Economic Sanctions (PDF Download Available). Available from: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/229658377_A_Peaceful_Silent_Deadly_Remedy_The_Ethics_of_Economic_Sanctions [accessed Jul 23, 2015].

Starvation as a Weapon: Legal Implications of the United Nations Food Blockade Against Iraq and Kuwait

René Provost

Starvation as a Weapon: Legal Implications of the United Nations Food Blockade Against Iraq and Kuwait

30 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 577 (1992)

(Introduction)

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in early August 1990 was a bold political move that sent shockwaves through the community of nations and triggered an international reaction which some have viewed as the dawn of a ‘New World Order.’ From the start, the United Nations (the “U.N.”) was at the center of the reaction against this illegal use of force, condemning the invasion in unmitigated terms the same day it occurred. The U.N. proved successful in channelling efforts which eventually resulted in the liberation of Kuwait.

My focus here is on the use of a food blockade by the U.N. Security Council against Iraq and occupied Kuwait. The use of starvation as a weapon is regulated by a number of international humanitarian norms, some conventional and others customary. In this article, I analyze the legal and factual background of the food blockade, and then assess its compliance with international humanitarian law. I conclude that the U.N., the members of the Security Council, and the countries that participated violated several mandatory humanitarian norms in enforcing the food blockade.

Read the entire article here:

starvation-provost

Starvation as a Weapon: Legal Implications of the UN Food Blockade Against Iraq and Kuwait

Starvation as a Weapon: Legal Implications of the UN Food Blockade Against Iraq and Kuwait

by René Provost

30 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 577 (1992)

Introduction

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in early August 1990 was a bold political move that sent shockwaves throught the community of nations and triggered an international reaction which some have viewed as the dawn of a “New World Order.”  From the start, the United Nations was at the center of the reaction against this illegal use of force, condemning the invasion in unmitigated terms the same day it occurred. The U.N. proved successful in channelling efforts which eventually resulted in the liberation of Kuwait.

My focus here is on the use of a food blockade by the U.N. Security Council against Iraq and occupied Kuwait. The use of starvation as a weapon is regulated by a number of international humanitarian norms, some conventional and others customary. In this article, I analyze the legal and factual background of the food blockade, and then assess its compliance with international humanitarian law. I conclude that the U.N., the members of the Security Council, and the countries that participated violated several mandatory humanitarian norms in enforcing the food blockade.

Read the entire article HERE

Read also Elias Davidsson:  Economic Oppression as an International Wrong or as a Crime Against Humanity (dealing inter alia with the legal aspects of starvation as a weapon)

United States’ Foreseeability, Awareness and Knowledge of the Consequences of the Sanctions Against Iraq

United States’ Foreseeability, Awareness and Knowledge of the Consequences of the Sanctions Against Iraq

Elias Davidsson

2004

Introduction

In order to determine to which extent individual leaders who imposed and maintained economic sanctions against Iraq can be held responsible for the adverse consequences of their acts, including massive child mortality, it is important to determine the extent to which these persons had been aware of the foreseeable consequences of their decisions and informed about such consequences as the sanctions unfolded. The question of knowledge (or awareness) is an important element in determining the existence or absence of a culpable intent, particularly when an actor denies having intended the adverse consequences of his acts. A general, though rebuttable, presumption in law is that a person intends the foreseeable consequences of his acts. As will be seen below, the US administration possessed adequate data to predict the adverse consequences of the sanctions on Iraq before they were imposed, was informed of the consequences as they unfolded, and was kept informed on these consequences all along the sanctions’ period. Not only was the US administration aware of these consequences, but it was determined to cause severe hardships in Iraq, as a means to force the compliance of the Iraqi government with the will of the U.S. administration, as reflected in Security Council resolutions. The question whether other governments shared the U.S. administration’s foreseeability, awareness and knowledge of the consequences of the Iraq sanctions – and the same intent to cause hardships – will not be dealt with in the present study.

 

Sub-headings

 

1. Knowledge as a mental element in criminal law

 

2. The applicability of the notion of foreseeability, awareness and knowledge to the imposition of economic sanctions against Iraq

 

(a) Foreknowledge: The period before the imposition of the Iraq sanctions

(b) Members of Congress knew what consequences could be expected from the sanctions on Iraq

(c) The U.S. administration was informed on the consequences of the Iraq sanctions during the entire sanctions period

(d) U.S. leaders acknowledged the causality between the sanctions and the humanitarian situation in Iraq

 

3. Concluding observations

For the entire article, open attachment below

2883_econsanc-US-knowledge