On 26 and 27 June 2015 international experts on UN Sanctions gathered in Leiden, the Netherlands, for an expert conference on the future of UN Sanctions (for the programme, see: http://www.ila-hq.org/en/study-groups/index.cfm/cid/1055, under Committee documents). The overarching theme for the conference was individualization and formalization of UN sanctions. Topics addressed during the conference included the functions of UN sanctions; processes of formalization and individualization; regional perspectives on UN sanctions; institutional interplay; and implementation and domestic effects of UN sanctions.
The conference was opened by Larissa van den Herik (Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University) and Sue Eckert (Brown University Watson Institute). Larissa van den Herik introduced the conference theme. She spoke about the increased use by the UN Security Council of targeted sanctions and the challenges that come with it. She highlighted the need to formalize UN sanctions procedures and the steps that have been undertaken so far. Sue Eckert discussed the issue of effectiveness of UN sanctions, supported by quantative data ensuing from the High Level Review of UN Sanctions (see http://www.hlr-unsanctions.org/).
A recurrent theme throughout the conference was due process in UN sanctions procedures. Kimberly Prost, the current UN Ombudsperson, discussed the challenges faced by the institution of the Ombudsperson and gave insights into the institution’s working methods. One of the major concerns discussed during the conference related to the fragility and exclusivity of the institution of the Ombudsperson, which has jurisdiction to review delisting requests of the Al Qaida sanctions lists only (see: http://opiniojuris.org/author/kristen-boon/).
In his closing speech, Nico Schrijver (Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University) emphasized that a focus on UN sanctions should not distract from other important tools to change unlawful behavior, most notably incentives. He argued in favour of balancing punitive with rewarding approaches.