Available in Russian
Author: Olga Kadysheva
Keywords: Qatar; sanctions; unilateral restrictive measures; international courts; counter measures
The article examines the judicial strategy chosen and successfully implemented by Qatar for challenging in international courts the unilateral sanctions imposed against it by a group of countries. It notes that instead of one dispute over Qatar’s implementation of the Riyadh Agreements, everything was “sliced” into smaller disputes over various sectoral international agreements, which seems to be the only correct approach, given the current state of international law and international justice. However, this approach also has quite obvious risks because of the possibility of various conflicting judgments. Qatar has used international court proceedings as a means of putting pressure on States that have imposed restrictions against it in order to force them to lift their restrictions. This strategy has paid off. At the same time, Qatar’s judicial “sanctions” war has highlighted in a new way some of the nuances and problems of both specific courts and international justice in general. First of all, the departure of the International Court of Justice from its earlier practice of adhering to the positions and interpretations made by human rights bodies looks unusual and inexplicable. This has caused criticism from representatives of the academic community, who reproached the Court for missing an excellent opportunity to once again consider the issue of its interaction with human rights treaty bodies, leaving open the question of who should play the leading role in interpretation of the Convention. Additionally, it should be noted that all the international judicial bodies involved in the legal proceedings initiated by Qatar evaded an assessment of the underlying dispute – whether Qatar actually violated the Riyadh Agreements and whether the actions of States that imposed sanctions were legitimate and proportionate as countermeasures under modern international law on a State’s responsibility. Of course, Qatar could be blamed for forum shopping but, strictly speaking, this strategy is not prohibited by international law. Nevertheless, Qatar’s experience in applying to various international courts and tribunals encourages and will encourage other States to resort to international law to resolve conflicts.
About the author: Olga Kadysheva – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, Department of International Law, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.
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