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Determining Boundaries in a Conflicted World

Determining Boundaries in a Conflicted World: The Role of Uti Possidetis

Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Determining Boundaries in a Conflicted World
    Book Description:

    She argues that nothing justifies conferring such a binding status on the principle and that the uti possidetis applied in Yugoslavia was an entirely new version that can derive no legitimacy from colonial precedents. While the doctrine may have considerable utility in some cases, it is only principle among many that must be considered if future disputes are to be resolved so as to promote long term peace and stability. Lalonde sounds a cautionary note, showing that the idea that uti possidetis provides a one-size-fits-all, legally incontestable solution to all territorial disputes is an illusion.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7049-8
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    The determination of frontiers has been one of the major problems to bedevil the peace of the modern world. And while Ancel remarked that there are no problems of boundaries, only problems of nations,¹ the fact remains that this one vexed question has triggered many, if not most, of the recent armed conflicts. It is not surprising that the international community, reeling from the break-up of the Soviet Union and other eastern European states, has been in search of one overriding principle or rule that will ensure the greatest degree of territorial stability and constitute the best guarantee of peace....

  7. 1 The Origins of Uti Possidetis
    (pp. 10-23)

    Most commentators writing on theuti possidetisprinciple in international law refer to its historical origins under Roman law. However, in many instances, this consideration of the Roman law aspects ofuti possidetisis little more than a passing reference, as its role in the decolonization era is deemed to be the real starting point to any investigation. Yet it is important to consideruti possidetisas originally defined under Roman law in order to understand its evolution and to gain greater insight into the more problematic aspects of its subsequent interpretation and application as a rule of international law....

  8. 2 Uti Possidetis in Latin America
    (pp. 24-60)

    While some commentators writing on the principle ofuti possidetiswill briefly comment on its Roman law origins and its subsequent connection with the rule of thestatus quo post bellum, nearly all writers emphasize that the modern principle ofuti possidetiswas founded amidst the disintegration of the Iberian empires in South America. Sorel and Medhi, for example, declare “[I]t is in Latin America thatuti possidetiswas first officially baptized,”¹ while De Pinho Campinos asserts that “the principle ofuti possidetiswas born in Latin America around 1810.”² In this chapter, we will assess the importance of this...

  9. 3 Post-1918 Europe and the Near East
    (pp. 61-102)

    In chapter 2 we focused on the emergence of theuti possidetisprinciple in nineteenth-century Latin America and the role it played in determining the boundaries of the new republics. We questioned the assertion that as a result of the decolonization process in Latin America,uti possidetishad become a general principle of international law. The question remains whether, by the turn of the twentieth century,uti possidetishad begun to play a greater role in the determination of boundaries. In order to assess its influence in the early decades of the twentieth century, its impact on the redrawing of...

  10. 4 Africa
    (pp. 103-137)

    Throughout the nineteenth century, European colonial powers drew lines across the African continent, both to define their respective possessions and to subdivide their own empires for administrative purposes. It is a commonplace that European expansion in Africa produced territorial divisions that bore little or no relation to the character and distribution of local populations.¹ Prior to independence, many African political parties advocated the readjustment of these artificial boundaries to accord with local realities. The revisionist movement culminated in the resolution proclaimed by the All-African Peoples Conference held in Accra in December 1958, which called for the abolition or readjustment of...

  11. 5 The Doctrine on the Stability of Boundaries
    (pp. 138-171)

    Chapter 4 traced in broad outline the history of African boundaries from the Berlin Conference until the adoption of the 1964 boundary resolution. Of particular interest was the evidence of intracolonial boundary readjustments and the fact of their acceptance at the date of independence. In considering the impact of theOAU Charterand theCairo Resolution, it was argued that these pronouncements merely referred to rights and obligations as defined by international law. It is therefore essential at this point to examine in more detail the various norms of international law, such as the rules on state succession, thenemo...

  12. 6 Yugoslavia and Quebec
    (pp. 172-229)

    The accuracy of the statement above is borne out by our investigation into the historical roots of the principle. In nineteenth-century Latin America, the newly independent Spanish republics adopted a modified version of the Roman law interdict with the aim of facilitating the delimitation of their boundaries inherited from Spain. In Africa, since decolonization, theuti possidetisprinciple has been held not only to guarantee the continuity of internal administrative lines, but also to protect international boundaries established between different colonial powers. In other instances, such as in theGuinea/Guinea-Bissau Maritime Delimitationcase, the principle ofuti possidetisappears to...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 230-240)

    Given the potential for turmoil and mayhem when states collapse and existing boundaries seem up for grabs, it is natural that specific rules and definite criteria which might govern such unprecedented situations should be so eagerly sought. In this context, many international experts have acclaimed the doctrine ofuti possidetisas the best and only solution to resolve disputed boundaries. But such calls to extend and apply the principle ofuti possidetisin non-colonial situations are based upon its purported success in the past in resolving conflicts over boundaries, especially in colonial Latin America and Africa. Therefore, before joining the...

  14. APPENDIX ONE Latin America: Constitutions and Treaties Consulted
    (pp. 241-250)
  15. APPENDIX TWO The Aland Islands
    (pp. 251-251)
  16. APPENDIX THREE Ottoman Administrative Divisions
    (pp. 252-252)
  17. APPENDIX FOUR The Semakh Triangle
    (pp. 253-254)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 255-318)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 319-340)
  20. Index
    (pp. 341-348)