The Validity of the Principle of Self-Determination under International Law

Velkov, Damjan (2020) The Validity of the Principle of Self-Determination under International Law. BA/BSc thesis, BCE Nemzetközi, Politikai és Regionális Tanulmányok Intézet, Nemzetközi Kapcsolatok Tanszék.

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Drawing upon the principles of liberty and self-rule espoused during the romanticized American and French Revolutions of the Enlightenment era, the idea of a right to selfdetermination of peoples was born. This idea slowly developed into a concept of significant importance, growing in prominence along with the national awakenings of the 19th century, self-determination as a concept tied to the rights of nations gained its spotlight with the end of the Great War and the subsequent inception of the League of Nations, where the concept was introduced into the realm of international law. Through its historical rise in international prominence the principle of self-determination, as it was termed in cases of international renown, became a rallying cry of the oppressed and downtrodden peoples under foreign rule. Therefore, self-determination came to challenge the already established principle of the territorial integrity of sovereign states, a bastion of defense for those who sought to preserve the status quo. And now we come to our first two, of three, most important questions that I intend to cover through my research. First and foremost, through the numerous definitions of the principle of self-determination, addressing the concept’s historical background and its interpretation in legal sources, as well as its implementation in the framework of the United Nations, I aim to provide an answer to the question of: Who has the right to legitimately invoke the principle of self-determination under its current interpretation in international law? Under the auspices of the UN, the principle of selfdetermination was institutionally molded into a tool to facilitate the Decolonization process, by effect limiting the principle’s scope of interpretation which I additionally aim to address. Further on, through covering the case of the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, and by extent the independence of Kosovo, I intend to provide a case study on Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence as a means to address the question: Should the right to self-determination take precedence over the territorial integrity of sovereign states? Finally, I aim to answer the question: Could the principle of self-determination be adapted to enable its further legitimate use in the post-Cold War international community? By conducting a direct comparison of the UN’s institutional framework which used the principle of self-determination to enable the process of decolonization, and the case of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, as a means to provide a possible institutional adaptation of self-determination which would be applicable in the post-Cold War world.

Item Type:BA/BSc thesis
Subjects:Political science
ID Code:13135
Specialisation:International Relations
Deposited On:06 Nov 2020 10:41
Last Modified:06 Dec 2021 09:03

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