Territorial Integrity and the Law of Statehood

49 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2012 Last revised: 24 May 2013

See all articles by Jure Vidmar

Jure Vidmar

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 22, 2012


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.

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

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2159113

Jure Vidmar (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200

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