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Territorial Integrity and the Law of Statehood

Jure Vidmar

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

July 22, 2012

George Washington International Law Review, Vol. 44, 2013

International law of statehood is marked by two fundamental problems: inadequacy of the statehood criteria and shortcomings of both traditional recognition theories, constitutive and declaratory. Resorting only to the statehood criteria and recognition theories, is it possible to determine whether Kosovo is a state and explain why Somaliland is not? This article makes an inquiry into the theory of statehood and practice of emergence of new states in the postcolonial era. In the contemporary world virtually every territory is an integral part of a sovereign state and, in turn, protected by the principle of territorial integrity. The applicability of this principle does not make the emergence of a new state illegal; its consequence is rather that new states do not emerge automatically upon meeting the statehood criteria. The article demonstrates that the consequences and legal effects of the principle of territorial integrity have not been adequately accommodated in the prevailing doctrines of the law of statehood. Emergence of a new state in contemporary international law is not a matter of meeting or failing to meet the statehood criteria. It is rather a political process of overcoming a competing claim to territorial integrity.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: statehood, criteria for statehood, recognition, territorial integrity, concept of state, emergence of new states

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Date posted: October 10, 2012 ; Last revised: May 24, 2013

Suggested Citation

Vidmar, Jure, Territorial Integrity and the Law of Statehood (July 22, 2012). George Washington International Law Review, Vol. 44, 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2159113

Contact Information

Jure Vidmar (Contact Author)
University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )
St Cross Building
St Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom
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