Self-Determination Through the Lens of the International Court of Justice
Netherlands International Law Review, Vol. 56, pp. 429-453, 2009
25 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2010
Date Written: December 2009
This article shall focus on the role and contribution of the International Court of Justice (ICJ or Court) to developing and interpreting the right of peoples to self-determination. The most relevant cases decided by the Court so far, briefly noted here, fall broadly speaking within the decolonization context, save for the ongoing advisory proceedings in the Kosovo case. This simple taxonomy is based on a broad separation of the Court’s case law in two main categories, namely that pertaining to decolonization and that pertaining to secession. The analysis of the place of secession under current international law serves to put into perspective the inquiry into whether any of the main principles applicable to the decolonization process, as elaborated by the Court, continue to be valid in the case of secession of a part of a State from an existing independent State. The article ends with a number of concluding remarks on the contribution of the Court to clarifying the right of peoples to self-determination as part of the corpus of international human rights law.
Keywords: International Court of Justice, right of peoples to self-determination, decolonization process, secession, international human rights law, case law analysis
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