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Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans: Race and Self-Determination in International Law

Series: Borderlines
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 1996
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Sovereigns, Quasi Sovereigns, and Africans
    Book Description:

    In this trenchant critique, Grovogui demonstrates the failure of international law to address adequately the issues surrounding African self-determination during decolonization. Challenging the view that the only requirement for decolonization is the elimination of the legal instruments that provided for direct foreign rule, he probes the universal claims of international law.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8677-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    This book was undertaken in light of the shortcomings of decolonization in Africa. It refutes the established theories of postcolonial independence that equate the transfer of political power, however limited, from the colonizer to the colonized with African self-determination and an assumption of national sovereignty.¹ These explanations have construed self-determination (or self-affirmation and expression by an autonomous entity) and postcolonial sovereignty (ordinarily, the absolute internal authority of political entities and their capacity to secure external recognition by like bodies)² to mean the application of the rules of decolonization according to the procedures of international law.³

    The proponents of these views...

  5. 1 Genesis, Order, and Hierarchy
    (pp. 11-42)

    In recent years, natural-law theorists, realists, and other liberal critics of postivism and formalism have jettisoned the argument that Western powers and their dominant classes held their imperial rights by virtue of nature or reason. They have acknowledged the fallacy of imperialist claims to the right of occupancy. The liberal critics, according to Johannes Fabian, have recognized the purported philanthropic and altruistic thrusts of such claims for what they are: “a monstrous lie perpetuated for the benefit of one part of humanity, for a few societies of that part, and, in the end, for one part of those societies, its...

  6. 2 Partial Recognition to the Barbarous
    (pp. 43-76)

    The majority of international legal theorists have agreed that sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European religious and political struggles greatly influenced political theory and law. They have also claimed that these events helped to determine modern praxis. Specifically, they have maintained that the juridical notion of sovereignty has its origin in those European struggles, and that the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War in 1648, established it as an essential principle of international politics. There is less accord, however, on the extent of the application of the principle of sovereignty outside of Europe. In particular, theorists have disagreed about...

  7. 3 Natives’ Right to Dispose of Themselves
    (pp. 77-110)

    The 1884–85 Berlin Conference ended the phase of non-Christian alterity when the right of the infidel todominiumandimperiumwas flatly rejected. It partially restored the status of Africans—they were promoted from humans without civil or sovereign rights (the dominant view throughout the slave trade) to individuals with limited political rights, including the right to dispose of themselves — but this exclusively European meeting formalized the division of Africa. The final accord, the General Act of Berlin, also signaled the absolute rule of positive law on that continent. It imposed perpetual burdens on Africans by compelling its peoples...

  8. 4 Behind the Veil of the Trust
    (pp. 111-142)

    During World War I, the Allies (Britain, France, Russia, Serbia, and Belgium) and associated powers (Greece, Italy, and Japan) determined to eradicate the sources of conflict by rethinking the norms and values of the international system. According to Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen-point peace proposal, the primary agenda of the peace conference was to set by treaty the terms of German (and Turkish) surrender, including reparations to the victims of the war. The second agenda item was the creation of a concert of nations to preserve peace through a “partnership of opinion” that would define the conditions governing interstate relations and the...

  9. 5 Constitutional Protection as Pretext
    (pp. 143-178)

    The outbreak of World War II revealed flaws in the international order and brought about a near-consensus worldwide about the necessity of restructuring it. Specifically, the defeat of Nazism and fascism reinforced the political currents hostile to totalitarianism and favorable to national self-determination. The Allies sought to preserve the status quo in Europe against the devastation of Hitlerism and fascism by instituting collective security in Europe and promoting Western hegemony through its cultural, legal, and intellectual values. They also attempted to secure Western hegemony through the mechanisms of the proposed international system: the United Nations.

    In other respects, the juridico-political...

  10. 6 Conclusion: The Challenges of Postcolonialism
    (pp. 179-208)

    With the independence of Africa’s last colony, Namibia, two contradictory precepts have come to dominate the authoritative Western discourse on postcolonialism. The first is that the post-World War II international regime has restored sovereignty and self-determination to the formerly colonized.¹ This postulate is based on the jurisprudential notion that the current norms of international relations and law are founded upon the principles of political autonomy and juridical equality among national entities.² At the same time, the vast majority of authoritative scholars and practitioners recognize that most former colonies do not possess the requisite attributes of statehood.³ These postcolonial states are...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 209-250)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 251-266)
  13. Index
    (pp. 267-282)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 283-283)