Sanctions fines for violations may huge in terms of financial, business, and reputational losses. US authorities have been particularly rigorous in prosecuting banks in more or less the last decade or so. OFAC treats violations as a serious threat to national security and foreign relations. Criminal offenders face monetary fines ranging from a few thousand dollars to several million and prison as well.
Sanctions are penalties or other means of enforcement used to provide incentives for compliance with the law, or with rules and regulations, according to law and legal definition. It may include severe punishment, such as corporal or capital punishment, incarceration, or heavy fines.
In civil law, sanctions are typically monetary fines levied against a party to a lawsuit or their attorney for violating procedural rules or abusing the judicial process. In a civil lawsuit, the most severe sanction is the involuntary dismissal, with prejudice, of a complaining party’s cause of action or the responding party’s answer. As penalties that may be incurred as a consequence of norm violation, sanctions must relate to norms or rules, must be capable of application, and must carry some negative power, whether symbolic or real.
Failure to meet these minimum conditions would make them absurd. If sanctions are to have the character of legal penalties, their imposition should also have some authorized basis. This immediately compounds the problem at the international level where authority is conspicuously absent.
Sanctions are penalties imposed on a country, its officials, or private citizens as punishment or to provide disincentives for the targeted policies and actions. Travel bans and export restrictions, as well as trade embargoes and asset seizures, are examples of economic sanctions. Such sanctions, by definition, apply to parties who are not easily subject to law enforcement by the sanctioning jurisdiction.
Sanctions are a policy tool that, short of military force, can be used to punish or deter objectionable behavior. They are widely applicable beyond the borders of the sanctioning country and can be costly to their targets in an era of increased global trade and economic interdependence. Economic sanctions can also be a blunt and ineffective policy tool, imposing insufficient and disproportionate costs on the targeted governments and their most vulnerable populations.