Nagorno Karabakh: An Alternative Legal Approach To Its Quest For Legitimacy

Thomas Jefferson Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 1, p. 29, 2012

Miskolc Journal of International Law (Hungary), Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 69, 2012

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2168071

17 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2012 Last revised: 12 Oct 2013

Date Written: October 30, 2012

Abstract

As the Soviet Union was crumbling, a number of simmering ethnic and religious geopolitical hotspots began to boil. For some of these oblasts, de facto statehood (but not necessarily international recognition) was the forced endgame. Georgia's former provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and Serbia's Kosovo, are familiar examples of post-Soviet unilateral declarations of independence.

Nagorno Karabakh (NK) unilaterally declared its independence in 1991. The NK-Azerbaijan conflict has the potential to destabilize the Southern Caucasus, Iran, and beyond. This conflict resulted in trebling NK's size, well beyond its internal administrative borders within the former Azeri SSR.

Given its de facto (at best) statehood posture, NK is yet another modern unilateral secession in need of a viable legal analysis, as opposed to the military and political ripostes that characterize NK-Azeri relations. NK should adopt the Canadian Supreme Court's Quebec Secession approach to legitimacy, rather than clinging to its questionable interpretation of a Soviet statute in its quest for legitimacy and international recognition.

Keywords: human rights, secession, Nagorno Karabakh, South Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Soviet Union

JEL Classification: K19, K33

Suggested Citation

Slomanson, William R., Nagorno Karabakh: An Alternative Legal Approach To Its Quest For Legitimacy (October 30, 2012). Thomas Jefferson Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 1, p. 29, 2012, Miskolc Journal of International Law (Hungary), Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 69, 2012, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 2168071, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2168071

William R. Slomanson (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

701 B Street
Suite 110
San Diego, CA 92101
United States

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