In March 2011, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) used its Chapter VII powers under the United Nations Charter to authorize "all necessary measures" to protect civilians under threat of attack in Libya.' Notably, the resolution was careful to cabin its instructions to the use of preventive measures to protect civilians from harm, opting not to authorize the use of force against the state of Libya or even the Qaddafi regime. When, in January 2012, the European Union (EU) approved an unprecedented package of sanctions against Iran, European leaders were careful to note, "[w]e have no quarrel with the Iranian people," but then added, "[u]ntil Iran comes to the table, we will be united behind strong measures .. . to demonstrate the cost of a path that threatens the peace and security of us all." While this may seem obvious today, justifying international coercive measures against states in terms of prevention of threats, rather than as punishment for transgressions, was by no means inevitable.
The Crime and Punishment of States,
Yale J. Int'l L.
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