Fairness to ‘Peoples’ and their Right to Self-Determination

Thomas M. Franck

in Fairness in International Law and Institutions

Published in print January 1998 | ISBN: 9780198267850
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683398 | DOI:
Fairness to ‘Peoples’ and their Right to Self-Determination

Show Summary Details


With the advent of the 1990s, a new era began. The Cold War had ended and the decolonisation of the Third World had been virtually accomplished. Perennial conflicts now began to appear in a new political context: the global phenomenon of postmodern neo-tribalism. Modernism may be the author of its own challenge by postmodern neotribalism in at least one other, perhaps most fundamental, sense. The rise of the enlightened state from the 17th to the 19th century in Europe, on the surging crest of Protestantism and capitalism, succeeded in unifying small principalities, republics, and city-states into larger national entities. These often encompassed diverse religious and ethnic groups. It is easy to predict that, in fairness, the claims of minorities will be stronger when a state is disintegrating (including claims of putative minorities within the seceding entity) than when one minority seeks secession from an otherwise stable multi-ethnic state. This chapter discusses the static principle of uti possidetis or ‘territorial integrity’ and compares it with the dynamic principle of self-determination.

Keywords: modernism; minorities; fairness; secession; territorial integrity; uti possidetis

Chapter.  14869 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.