Pathways to independence and recognition

Authored by: James Summers

Routledge Handbook of State Recognition

Print publication date:  September  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815354871
eBook ISBN: 9781351131759
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter will look at how international law creates three pathways to recognition or non-recognition. The first path is a fairly common route facilitated by international law and, in particular, the right of self-determination. The second route is more uneven where international law is purportedly neutral but progress on recognition is difficult. This applies outside the colonial context, where an independence movement cannot rely on a legal right of self-determination and must overcome the self-interested scepticism of states towards giving support for state fragmentation. The third pathway is a much tougher road where international law principles support non-recognition based on the inherent illegality of a new state-like entity.

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