Invitation: ESIL Prague - Nottingham Symposium: Non-UN Sanctions and International Law

The Institute of International Relations co-organized the international symposium which took place in Prague, 5 May 2017 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. The idea was to consider various aspects of sanctions adopted outside the UN context, by individual States, groups of States, regional organizations or other actors. Please find below the final report from the conference. 


Date: 05.05.2017
Time: 09:00
Venue: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
In cooperation:
Organized by: Veronika Bílková


Final report:

On 5 May 2017, the first one-day event of the ESIL Prague–Nottingham Symposium on Non-UN Sanctions and International Law took place in Prague. The Symposium was co-organized by the Centre for International Law of the Institute of International Relations in Prague, the Czech Republic, and the Nottingham International Law and Security Centre of the University of Nottingham, the United Kingdom. The second one-day event of the Symposium will take place on 10 November 2017 in Nottingham. The Prague event was kindly hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in the splendid venues of the baroque Czernin Palace in the vicinity of the Prague Castle.

The general idea behind the two-part Symposium is to consider various aspects of non-UN sanctions, i.e. unilateral sanctions adopted by individual States, groups of States, regional organizations or other actors. Although much has been written about sanctions over the past years, the focus typically lies on UN sanctions, i.e. coercive measures not involving the use of force adopted by virtue of Article 41 of the UN Charter. Yet, international practice reveals that sanctions are also, with increasing frequency, adopted outside the U|N framework. The legality and legitimacy of these sanctions, as well as their efficiency, remain uncertain and, to a large extent, unexplored. The Symposium seeks to contribute to a better understanding of how non-UN sanctions operate and what their legal status is.

The Prague event concentrated on the legality and legitimacy of non-UN sanctions. The programme was composed of four panels, which dealt with the legality of non-UN sanctions, conditions of their lawful exercise, selected case studies (mainly those of sanctions against the Russian Federation), and the relationship between non-UN sanctions and some traditional institutions of international law (immunities, etc.). Leading scholars on sanctions as well as PhD students writing their dissertation about the topic presented their papers. The quality of the abstract proposal and fair gender and geographic representation had been the criteria used in the selection of papers. The selection turned out to be successful, as all the presentations were interesting and they gave rise to lively discussions. The panels were chaired by the members of the ESIL Board and representatives of the organizing institutions (Anne Van Aaken, Veronika Bílková, Mary Footer and Nigel White).

More information on the programme of the Prague event is available in the Symposium booklet (here). A publication on non-UN sanctions is envisaged but a final decision on its type and content will only be taken after the Nottingham event


Veronika Bílková is Senior Researcher at the IIR, coordinator of the IIR Centre for International Law, she was elected to the ESIL Board. Fields of her interest are international law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, human rights, use of force in international relations, terrorism and international sanctions.