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Self-Determination and Secession in International Law$
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Christian Walter, Antje von Ungern-Sternberg, and Kavus Abushov

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702375.001.0001

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The Role of Recognition and Non-Recognition with Regard to Secession

The Role of Recognition and Non-Recognition with Regard to Secession

Chapter:
(p.45) 4 The Role of Recognition and Non-Recognition with Regard to Secession
Source:
Self-Determination and Secession in International Law
Author(s):

Stefan Oeter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702375.003.0004

The recent cases of recognition of secessionist entities—Kosovo, Abkhazia, South Ossetia—have confused international legal doctrine. Do they mark a change in current state practice of recognition? The paper revisits traditional recognition doctrine and practice and elaborates on the rationale underlying traditional practice of non-recognition of secessionist entities while the former territorial sovereign has not consented to separate statehood. A closer look at this rationale, but also at the recent cases of Kosovo, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia speaks very much in favour of upholding the traditional policy of non-recognition. The paper also stresses the strong trend towards collective patterns of recognition—only in collective patterns, it is argued, can the international community influence conflicts over self-determination and territory and may moderate the behaviour of conflicting parties.

Keywords:   (non)-recognition, collective recognition, secession, Kosovo, European Union, Yugoslavia

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