Often, countries "condemn" actions done by other countries, but do not do anything else about it. Is there any practical implications to such condemnations?
- If so, what are they?
- If not, then why they bother to condemn?
virtue signaling. – Fizz
If you wanted to boil an answer to this question into two words, Fizz nailed it.
In a more expansive manner, public declarations are a highly complex social event. Depending on the context of the declaration, like a condemnation, it can have different primary purposes.
How the condemnation is worded, who the target audience is, where the comment was made from (physical location), what medium was it made on, when did the condemnation come, all influence the why it was made and what the objective is.
The two primary audiences for a public condemnation is the international community and the local constituency.
The vast majority of international issues focus on a dispute between two groups. An international condemnation essentially publicly states that you are not in favor of one of the groups or a specific action of that group. However, depending on wording, may not put you in support of the other group.
The goal of a condemnation is to distance yourself from the group/action you are condemning. Practically, this is done to prevent you from being associated with or mistaken as supportive of the group you just denounced.
It may be used to clearly choose a side, or may be used as a manner of staying neutral. Or simply to state that you don't support that action by that group, even if you support that group in general.
The achieved goal in the international aspect may be to avoid secondary sanctions, possible scrutiny, or international reputational damage. Sometimes it is used to garner favor or make a political statement, sometimes to peer pressure the group you are condemning or their associates.
The practical domestic objectives are political in nature. Depending on the context surrounding the condemnation, the achieved objectives will vary wildly.