Humanity Bounded and Unbounded: The Regulation of External Self-Determination under International Law

Law & Ethics of Human Rights, De Gruyter, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2013

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 13-78

31 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2013 Last revised: 1 Feb 2014

Robert L. Howse

New York University School of Law

Ruti Teitel

New York Law School

Date Written: November 25, 2013

Abstract

One of the most complex and uncertain areas of international legal doctrine is how should international law deal with the aspiration of a people to achieve self-determination through the establishment of a new state and the related claim to a specific territory over which statehood is to be exercised. Recently, when the General Assembly of the United Nations referred to the International Court of Justice the question of the legality of the declaration of independence by Kosovar Albanians, the Court was given an opportunity to clarify and develop the law on external self-determination. Instead, the Court answered extremely narrowly, confining its analysis to the legality of the act of declaration without determining any consideration of international legal norms applicable to the act of secession that was being proposed. This paper intends to fill the gap left by the ICJ’s decision: first by critiquing the inadequacy and tensions visible in the existing doctrine and second, by examining how recent developments in international law may allow for a more normatively coherent approach to the problem.

Suggested Citation

Howse, Robert L. and Teitel, Ruti, Humanity Bounded and Unbounded: The Regulation of External Self-Determination under International Law (November 25, 2013). Law & Ethics of Human Rights, De Gruyter, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2013; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 13-78. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2359600

Robert Howse (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Ruti Teitel

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States

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