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Signal and Affirm: How the United Nations Should Articulate the Right to Remedial Secession

PDF · John R. Ablan · Jun-13-2012 · 45 VAND. J. TRANSNAT'l L. 211 (2012)

In international law, the right of peoples to self-determination as applied to remedial secession is anything but clear. The International Court of Justice had an opportunity to clarify this area of law in its recent advisory opinion concerning the unilateral declaration of independence made by Kosovo. Much to the disappointment of international commentators, the Court expressly declined to adjudicate whether Kosovo had, by its declaration, attained state status. Instead, the Court declared that international law does not prohibit unilateral declarations of independence. This Note argues that the proper method for the United Nations to articulate international law of secession is via resolution of the General Assembly combined with application of that resolution by the International Court of Justice. This is the method the United Nations used when it articulated another form of the right to self-determination, the right to be free from colonization. The method’s success in this latter area demonstrates its viability for the right to secession, a similarly situated right.




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