States and Statehood

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Two Questions on Coups and Representation before International Courts

Think of Myanmar, and the awful consequences of the military coup which are continuing to unfold. One of these consequences – among the least awful, but among the more legally interesting – is that in the immediate aftermath of the coup it is unclear which set of individuals is the government of that state, entitled to represent it internationally. We’ve recently covered that issue, for example, with regard to Myanmar’s representation in the UN; or think of the question that has arisen in the UK as to who is lawfully the Burmese ambassador, entitled to occupy the premises of the diplomatic mission. There are many such representation questions, often looked at from the standpoint of recognition of governments. But an especially peculiar representation issue (and as far as I know one underexplored in the literature) is that of who gets to represent a coup-afflicted state, such as Myanmar, in disputes before international courts and tribunals, particularly in those disputes that are already pending. Think, most obviously, of The Gambia…

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Unpacking Sovereignty and Self-determination in ITLOS and the ICC: A Bundle of Rights?

In a short space of time, two international courts have handed down rather dramatic decisions related to the contested issues of self-determination and sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago and Palestine, which have, for a very long time now, been under the UK and Israeli occupation respectively. On 28 January 2021, an ITLOS Special Chamber found…

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“Solid jurisdictional basis”? The ICC’s fragile jurisdiction for crimes allegedly committed in Palestine

On 5 February 2021, Pre-Trial Chamber I issued its long-awaited decision regarding the ICC’s jurisdiction for possible war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories (Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem) since 13 June 2014 (for an academic analysis, see the symposium here). The decision was requested by the Office…

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Air Navigation in Abkhazia: Another Inter-State Litigation between Georgia and Russia in the Making?

In November 2020 the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, held a meeting with the head of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia to discuss relations between Russia and the de facto entity. According to the Abkhaz leader, an agreement was reached to restore the functioning of the Sokhumi airport. Russian plans to renovate the airport…

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An Irish Claim to Rockall

Due to Brexit, dispute has again arisen between the UK and Ireland over Rockall, a small rock in the North-East Atlantic Ocean, and its surrounding waters. On January 4th a Marine Scotland patrol boat stopped and boarded an Irish fishing trawler, forcing it to leave waters within 12 nautical miles of the rock. Scotland asserted the UK…

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