Scope limitations

UN sanctions can be modified in a number of different ways. Besides limiting sanctions application in terms of territorial or temporal scope, sanctions can be narrowed through delistings, or broadened through the application of secondary sanctions.

Any type of sanction can be further modified through exemptions. By adding exemptions to a particular type of sanction, the UN Security Council can limit the application of the sanctions measure to particular items (e.g. specific types of weapons), activities (e.g. participation in peace talks), or circumstances (e.g. following the denial of inspection).

The full list of previously imposed exemptions, together with the specific wording used in the texts of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, can be found in the “Exemptions” section of each distinctive type of sanctions (listed in the “Types of sanctions” part of the App).

Occasionally, the exemptions are not sanction-specific, but the UN Security Council uses a general provision allowing the Sanctions Committee to exempt any prohibited activity on a case-by-case basis. This is generally done due to humanitarian concerns.

Such a general exemption can be found in Paragraph 46 of UNSCR 2321 (2016), which marks the beginning of Episode 6 of the DPRK case:

...decides that the Committee may, on a case-by-case basis, exempt any activity from the measures imposed by these resolutions if the Committee determines that such an exemption is necessary to facilitate the work of [international and non-governmental] organizations [carrying out assistance and relief activities] in the DPRK [for the benefit of the civilian population of the DPRK] or for any other purpose consistent with the objectives of these resolutions;”