The Right to Self-determination Under International Law
“Selfistans,” Secession, and the Rule of the Great Powers
Routledge – 2013 – 224 pages
This book proposes a novel theory of self-determination; the Rule of the Great Powers. This book argues that traditional legal norms on self-determination have failed to explain and account for recent results of secessionist self-determination struggles. While secessionist groups like the East Timorese, the Kosovar Albanians and the South Sudanese have been successful in their quests for independent statehood, other similarly situated groups have been relegated to an at times violent existence within their mother states. Thus, Chechens still live without significant autonomy within Russia, and the South Ossetians and the Abkhaz have seen their conflicts frozen because of the peculiar geo-political equilibrium of power within the Caucuses region.
The Rule of the Great Powers, which asserts that only those self-determination seeking entities which enjoy the support of the majority of the most powerful states (the Great Powers) will ultimately have their rights to self-determination fulfilled. The Great Powers, potent military, economic and political powerhouses such as the United States, China, Russia, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy, often dictate self-determination outcomes through their influence in global affairs. Issues of self-determination in the modern world can no longer be effectively resolved through the application of traditional legal rules; rather, resort must be had to novel theories, such as the Rule of the Great Powers.
This book will be of particular interest to academics and students of law, political science and international relations.
Introduction 1. The Notion of Self-determination 2. Recent Applications of Self-determination 3. Self-determination and Other Theories 4. The Great Powers’ Rule or a New Theory of Self-determination 5. International Jurisprudence 6. Case Study 1: East Timor 7. Case Study 2: Kosovo 8. Case Study 3: Chechnya 9. Case Study 4: Georgia (South Ossetia and Abkhazia) 10. Case Study 5: (South Sudan) 11. Conclusion
Milena Sterio is an Associate Professor of Law at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where she specializes in international law, international human rights law, and international criminal law. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals, including the American University Law Review, the Connecticut Journal of International Law, and the Minnesota Journal of International Law.