Modern law and self-determination

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Christian Tomuschat
Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1993 - Law - 347 pages
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"Modern Law of Self-Determination" examines the significance of the right to self-determination in the new world order. For decades, self-determination was seen as a right of colonial peoples. Now the decolonization process has come to an end, its scope and meaning need to be re-examined. Increasingly, the ethnic groups within established nation States claim some separate political status. In extreme cases of persecution of an ethnic group by a ruling majority, secession may provide the only viable remedy to resolve the conflict. However, international law cannot promote a general Balkanization' of the globe. The legitimate interests of all ethnic groups should be accommodated within the framework of existing States. Self-determination, which today is predominantly understood as implying a right to independent statehood, may have to be re-interpreted as conferring no more than a right to autonomy or federal statehood. Such a conception is in line with a modern tendency that highlights the necessary internal dimension of self-determination. "Modern Law of Self-Determination" is based on papers delivered at a conference in Bonn in August 1992 which have been updated and reviewed by the authors in light of the discussions following their presentation.
  

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Contents

The Issue of a Right of Secession Reconsidered
21
The Right of SelfDetermination and Indigenous Peoples
41
SelfDetermination and Indigenous Peoples
55
A Federal Right of SelfDetermination?
83
The Democratic or Internal Aspect of SelfDetermination
101
Patrick Thornberry
138
SelfDetermination Absolute Right or Social Poetry?
177
Philip Allott
190
SelfDetermination as a Limit to Obligations under International Law
211
Internal SelfDetermination
225
Annex
283
Bibliography
327
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Christian Tomuschat is Professor of Constitutional and International Law at Humboldt University, Berlin.

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