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The Power and Purpose of International LawInsights from the Theory and Practice of Enforcement$
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Mary Ellen O'Connell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368949

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368949.001.0001

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Unilateral Countermeasures

Unilateral Countermeasures

(p.229) Chapter 6 Unilateral Countermeasures
The Power and Purpose of International Law

Mary Ellen O'Connell

Oxford University Press

The most widely available forceful method of enforcing international law is the countermeasure. Countermeasures are regulated under the law of state responsibility. They are countermeasure to otherwise unlawful measures taken in response to a prior wrong, following notice by an injured state. Countermeasures must be proportional in the circumstances. They may include armed measures so long as the force used is minimal — such as in cutting nets of fishing vessels caught fishing in violation of treaties. Because economic measures are a common form of countermeasures, countermeasures are increasingly subject to prior adjudication by the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body. Thus, they increasingly resemble law enforcement measures of national legal systems.

Keywords:   state responsibility, dispute settlement, proportionality

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