Comprehensive economic sanctions have an indiscriminate impact on a country and can entail severe negative humanitarian consequences for the civilian population and third countries. In a series of conferences, representatives from the United Nations, government and the private sector held a dialogue aimed at identifying methods of applying sanctions in a more targeted and efficient manner.
Switzerland initiated this series of conferences with the Interlaken Process. The Interlaken Process focussed on the issue of targeted financial sanctions. The technical and judicial principles to improve the application of financial sanctions were developed at two seminars held in Interlaken. The results of the Interlaken Process were published in the form of a manual in 2001 (see Documents).
Following the Interlaken Process, Germany and Sweden organized a series of further seminars on targeted sanctions. The Bonn-Berlin Process focused on travel and air traffic related sanctions as well as on arms embargoes. The Stockholm Process dealt with the practical feasibility of implementing and monitoring targeted sanctions.
Targeted sanctions are intended to be directed at individuals, companies and organizations, or restrict trade with key commodities. The following instruments can be applied:
- Financial sanctions (freezing of funds and other financial assets, ban on transactions, investment restrictions)
- Trade restrictions on particular goods (e.g. arms, diamonds, oil, lumber) or services
- Travel restrictions
- Diplomatic constraints
- Cultural and sports restrictions
- Air traffic restrictions