Long-arm Collective Sovereignty Through the EU: The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime Transcending the Limits of the Fight Against Impunity

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The normative positioning of the Union: a new space for the collective exercise of sovereignty. – II.1. Human rights and criminal law, a source of inspiration and legitimacy. – II.2. Normative interpretation and hybridization within the Council practice. – III. “Supplementing” criminal repression? A new space to overcome the limits of jurisdiction. – III.1. Foreign policy v. criminal repression: the nature and purpose of the measures involved. – III.2. Overcoming the limits of jurisdiction and extending the reach of the measures.

Abstract: The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime was adopted by the European Union in December 2020, following in the footsteps of its allies and some of its own Member States. Initiated across the Atlantic in response to the murder of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, these thematic international sanctions can now target anyone associated with the most serious human rights violations. Presented as key levers in the international fight against impunity, these instruments lie at the confluence of foreign policy and criminal justice. The EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is therefore a privileged observation point for studying the evolution of practice in areas that are traditionally closely associated with State sovereignty. More specifically, the analysis, carried out within the framework of both EU external action law and public international law, shows how the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime enables the Union and its Member States to grasp some international situations which would fall outside their single competences and jurisdictions. This in turn illustrates a form of enhanced, collective and long-armed sovereignty, exercised on the international stage by the EU and its members in the service of their values and strategic interests.

Keywords: EU external action – Common Foreign and Security Policy – EU values – human rights – international criminal law – competence.

European Papers, Vol. 8, 2023, No 3, pp. 1679-1695
ISSN 2499-8249
- doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/736

* Professor of International and EU Law, University of Lille, charlotte.beaucillon@univ-lille.fr.


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