Sovereign State Territory


By Aditi Agarwal, NUALS

Editor’s Note: Sovereignty is the complete territorial jurisdiction of a country over a territory, as recognized by other countries. In the modern age, the state not only includes the territory of land but that of adjacent waters as well. There are several other types of sovereignty, however, emergent in the present day. These are called Condominiums, in which case either two countries jointly control territory, or the territory is leased to another country, or territory is pledged to another country as collateral against a loan.

The researcher then goes into the importance of the state boundaries and that secession of states from the parent state should not in any way affect the interstate boundaries that the seceded state has with other states. Globalization has changed the nature of populations, leaving traces of all countries in the populations of other countries. The researcher opines that international law needs to be redeveloped to accommodate such changing trends.

Introduction- What is a Sovereign?

The sovereignty of a state is confined to a defined piece of territory, which is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and is protected by international law from violation by other states. It is inherent in statehood that there should be a core territory that is subject to the effective control of the authorities of the state.  State territory is that defined portion of the globe which is subject to the sovereignty of a state.[i]

Here the word globe is used as state territory includes not only land but also the national or internal waters, archipelagic waters, and airspace that falls under the jurisdiction of that particular state. Within the state territory, the state exercises exclusive and supreme authority.

According to the maxim quidquid est in territorio est etiam de territorio, all individuals and all property within the territory of a state are under its dominion and sway, and foreign individuals and property fall at once under the territorial authority of a state when they cross its frontiers.

Article 2.4 of the United Nations Charter requires members to ‘refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State’. Hence, we can see how the need for territory is of prime importance for a State to exist. A wandering tribe may have a government but it cannot count as a state unless it has a territory that it has exclusive rights over.

The above discussion gives the impression that there could be only one full sovereign state and it is not possible for two or more sovereign states to exist on the same territory. However, this is not completely true and some exceptions have been created to this rule over the years. We shall discuss a few examples of such divided sovereignty.

Condominium– It is a political territory in or over which two or more sovereign powers formally agree to share equally dominium (in the sense of sovereignty) and exercise their rights jointly, without dividing it up into ‘national’ zones. Sudan, for example, was under the condominium of Great Britain and Egypt from 1898 to 1955.

The Anglo – Egyptian agreement on Sudan was signed on 19th January 1899, by Lord Cromer, the British counsel-general in Egypt, and Boutros Ghali Pasha, the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs. Since Egypt itself was occupied by the British, the agreement legalized British control of Sudan and framed it as an Anglo-Egyptian rule and administration. This condominium ended when the Sudanese Parliament voted a Declaration establishing Sudan as a fully sovereign republic in 1955 which was formally agreed to by Egypt and UK on 31st December.

In some cases, one state exercises sovereignty which is, in law, vested elsewhere: as where territory is administered by a foreign power, with the consent of the owner state. An example of this is when the Turkish island of Cyprus was under British administration from 1878 to 1914. Basically, in these instances there is a cession of territories for all practical purposes however under the law the territory still belongs to the former owner-state.

Another exception is when the territory is leased or pledged by the owner-state to another foreign power. A state may lease part of its territory to another state on certain terms and conditions of the lease or pledge it to another foreign power for a loan. The most famous example of this is “Chinese leases”. Hong Kong was leased to Great Britain by China for a period of about 99 years.

The fourth case is when the use, occupation, and control of territory are granted by the owner-state to another state perpetually, to the exclusion of exercise of any sovereign rights over that territory by the grantor. Literally speaking even federal states can be brought under this exception. In federal states different territories of single member states are collectively also the territory of the federal state and sovereignty is divided between a federal state and its member states. Lastly, there is the case of mandated and trusteeship territory. Here also the trustee state exercises most of the attributes of sovereignty over states that are not its own.

Now we shall briefly discuss the different parts of State Territory. If a state has a seacoast, certain waters which are within or adjacent to its land boundaries also become state territory. These include internal or national waters and territorial sea. National waters consist of lakes, canals, rivers, and their mouths etc-. Internal waters are legally equivalent to a state’s land and are entirely subject to its territorial sovereignty.

Territorial sea, on the other hand, is the continuous belt of sea waters, adjacent to the coast of a state and thus includes waters of the bays, gulfs, and straits. The seabed and subsoil of the territorial sea along with the airspace above it also fall within the sovereignty of the coastal state.[iii] There are maritime areas where coastal states enjoy limited rights of jurisdiction.

In fishing zones, for example, these states enjoy only certain prior rights to jurisdiction and control, however, they have exclusive and sovereign rights in an ‘exclusive economic zone’. Another interesting aspect of state territory is outer space. The first principle was that a state’s sovereignty extends over its airspace usque ad coelum[iv]. This was until 1957 when Sputnik was launched. Soon a new principle of law emerged. It was generally accepted that outer space and celestial bodies are not subject to appropriation by states and are to be used for peaceful purposes.

Boundaries of state territory are the imaginary lines on the surface of the earth which separate the territory of one state from another, or from unappropriated property or from the open sea. Practically speaking the usual practice with regard to land boundaries is, to describe the boundary line i.e. to ‘delimit’ it; and then to appoint boundary commissions to apply the delimitation to the ground and if necessary mark it with posts or the like, as in to ‘demarcate’ it.

Article 11 of the Convention on Succession of States says that a succession of states doesn’t affect a boundary established by a treaty, or obligations and rights established by a treaty and relating to the regime of a boundary. The law clearly states that a boundary established by a treaty is not to be called into question merely by the fact of succession of states or the change in circumstances since the treaty was made, however, it is not correct to say that boundaries established by treaty cannot be questioned at all.

State boundary forms a very important part of a nation and disputes relating to boundaries are very common. The correct interpretation of the instruments by which that boundary was established is looked into to decide the location of a land boundary under dispute. In other cases, arbitral awards or judicial decisions may be used to decide in cases, especially where the meaning of a boundary treaty is being questioned. It is to be kept in mind that one of the primary objects of the tribunals while solving such disputes of boundary settlements is ‘to achieve stability and finality’.

Here it is necessary to examine the doctrine of uti possidetis juris, which is a principle of international law which provides that newly formed sovereign states should have the same borders that their preceding dependent area had before their independence. It is often applied to prevent foreign intervention by eliminating any contested terra nullius, or no man’s land, that foreign powers could claim.

Terra nullius is a Latin expression used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty. This doctrine of uti possedetis juris was adopted by the Spanish-American states after they had gained independence. It intended to solve or avoid any sort of boundary problems between countries. However, in practice owing to the uncertainty of many Spanish colonial administrative boundaries at that time there were no clear and certain answers to the boundary disputes.

Modes of Acquisition of State Territory

The acquisition of territory by a state can be more correctly referred to as acquisition of territorial sovereignty, by an existing state and member of the international community over another state. At the very outset, it needs to be made clear that the recognition of a new state cannot be considered as the acquisition of territory. There may also be cases where private individuals or corporations gain certain rights or even authority over a territory which wasn’t under the territorial supremacy of any recognized state. Such cases are again not within the scope of “modes” of acquisition of state territory.

The five[v] modes of acquiring territory have traditionally been distinguished into cession, occupation, accretion, subjugation, and prescription. Before looking into these modes of acquisition which have been derived from Roman law rules on property it is necessary to understand that they are no longer appropriate or applicable. However, these “modes” of acquisition of territory still help us explain how countries got their titles.

Also, these methods are divided into two categories: original and derivative mode of acquisition. This division is on the basis of whether the title given to the state is derived from a prior owner-state or not. Hence, the only cession is a derivative mode.


Cession of the state territory is the transfer of sovereignty over state territory by the owner state to another state. Its basis lies in the intention of the concerned parties to transfer sovereignty over the territory in question, and it rests on the principle that the right of transferring its territory is a fundamental attribute of the sovereignty of a State. The cession may comprise a portion of the territory of the ceding State or the totality of its territory.

In the latter case, the ceding State disappears and merges into the acquiring State.[vi] To constitute a cession it must be intended that the sovereignty will pass.

The only form in which a cession can occur is an agreement normally in the form of a treaty between the ceding and the acquiring state; or between several states including the ceding and cessionary states. A lot of times cession is an outcome of peaceable negotiation or war, and maybe without compensation although certain duties could be imposed in the acquiring state. Such cessions are agreed upon by the interested states for different motives and for different purposes, like a gift or voluntary merger. An example is when Austria, during its war with Prussia and Italy in 1866, ceded Venice to France as a gift. Later France ceded Venice to Italy.

Cessions have in the past been affected by transactions as part of other contracts. In early Europe, territory was commonly ceded in marriage contracts. Also, a lot of times the peace treaty imposed by the victor for war included agreements to cede territory. However, Article 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties says that if the conclusion of a treaty has been procured by threat or use of force in violation of the principles of International Law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, then it is void. Hence, such forceful signing of agreements to cede territories would be invalid today.

A famous example of cession is the acquisition of Hong Kong by the British from China. The Treaty of Nanking was signed on the 29th of August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War (1839–42) between the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China. It was the first of the unequal treaties against the Chinese, as Britain had no obligations in return.

The Qing government agreed to make Hong Kong Island a crown colony, ceding it to the British Queen “in perpetuity” to provide British traders with a harbor where they could unload their goods. In 1860, the colony was extended with the Kowloon peninsula and in 1898 the Second Convention further expanded the colony with the 99-year lease of new territories. In 1984, the governments of UK and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) concluded the Sino- British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong, under which the sovereignty of the leased territories, together with Hong Kong Island and Kowloon ceded under the Convention of Peking (1860), was transferred to the PRC on 1 July 1997.[vii]

We know that the ceded territory is transferred to the new sovereign with all international obligations. All individuals who are subjects of the ceded state will normally become ipso facto by the cession subjects of the acquiring state.  The hardship involved for the inhabitants of the territory, who are irrespective of their choice handed over to the new sovereign, created a movement in favor of the claim that no cession can be valid until the inhabitants of the territory had by a ‘plebiscite’ given their consent to such cession. In modern law, however, the plebiscite is seen more as an instrument to comply with the principle of self-determination.


Occupation is a state’s intentional claim of sovereignty over territory treated by the international community as terra nullius, or territory that does not belong to any other state. Jennings writes it is “the appropriation by a state of a territory, which is not at the time subject to the sovereignty of any other state.”[viii] Article 42 of The Hague Regulations of 1907 defines occupation as follows: “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.”

The only territory which can be the object of occupation is that which doesn’t already belong to any state, whether it is uninhabited, or inhabited by persons whose community is not considered to be a state.[ix] In another scenario, a territory which belonged to a state but was afterward abandoned maybe occupied later by another state. A territory, the sovereignty over which is unclear or disputed cannot become an object of occupation. Acquiring states substantiate their claim by establishing administration over the territory.

In the Eastern Greenland case[x], the International Court of Justice stated that claims to sovereignty “based not upon some particular act or title such as a treaty of cession but merely upon continued display of authority, involve two elements, each of which must be shown to exist: the intention and will to act as sovereign, and some actual exercise or display of such authority.”[xi]

Possession and Administration are the two essential factors required to constitute an effective occupation. For possession, the territory must be taken under the state’s sway (corpus) and with the intention of acquiring sovereignty over it (animus). Possession generally involves a settlement and some sort of formal act which announces and shows the intention of the occupying state. After taking possession, the state has to establish an administrative system within a reasonable period of time. Administrative function is necessary because only then is the possessor state exercising sovereignty over the territory.

The uncertainty of the extent of occupation, and the tendency of possessor states to extend their occupation within the territory paved the way for the concept of ‘spheres of influence’. These spaces were basically a description of the territory exclusively reserved for occupation by a state which had effectively occupied adjoining territories, by a treaty. This helped reduce disputes to some extent.

Now we shall discuss the consequences of occupation. As soon as a territory has been occupied by a state, the acquired title comes within the sphere of international law and no other state can lawfully acquire it through occupation. The possessor state is thereafter responsible for all events of international importance that happen on the territory.


Accretion refers to the physical expansion of an existing territory through the geographical process. It is the name for the increase of land due to some new formations. Such formation may be a modification of the existing state territory for example, when an island rises within a river (not increasing the territory, only the land) or when an island emerges in the maritime belt.

It is a customary rule of international law that enlargement of territories by new formations, takes place ipso facto by accretion, without the state concerned taking any special step for the purpose of extending its sovereignty. Hence, accretion too is a direct mode of acquisition of territory.

New formations through accretion may be natural or artificial. Artificial formations include man-made embankments, breakwaters, dikes etc built along the river or coastline. No state is allowed to alter the natural condition of its own territory to the disadvantage of the natural environment of the neighboring countries.

Natural formations include alluvions, deltas, newborn islands, abandoned river beds. Alluvion is an accession of land washed up on the seashore or river bank by a gradual process of sedimentation or suddenly when a stream washes one bank and carries it over to the other bank. In such cases, the state gets a claim over the extra territory it has gained. Abandoned river beds occur when a river suddenly dries up leaving the bed dry and empty. In such cases, if it was a navigable boundary river, the line continues to run in the middle of the old thalweg[xii] in the abandoned river bed.

The natural processes may sometimes create new islands, which if created in the high seas belong to no one and may be acquired through occupation. If they arise within the territorial sea, they accrue to the littoral state and the extent of the maritime belt may now be calculated from the extended seashore. Needless to say, if these islands arise in rivers, lakes within a state they are accretions to the territory of that state.

The Canadian Supreme court in the case of Clarke[xiii] while discussing the concept of Accretion says that “Accretion denotes the increase which land bordering on a river or on the sea undergoes through the silting up of soil, sand or other substance, or the permanent retiral of the waters. This increase must be formed by a process so slow and gradual as to be, in a practical sense, imperceptible, by which is meant that the addition cannot be observed in its actual progress from moment to moment or from hour to hour, although, after a certain period, it can be observed that there has been a fresh addition to the shoreline. The increase must also result from the action of the water in the ordinary course of the operations of nature and not from some unusual or unnatural action by which a considerable quantity of soil is suddenly swept from the land of one man and deposited on, or annexed to, the land of another.

The fact that the increase is brought about in whole or in part by the water, as the result of the employment of artificial means, does not prevent it from being a true accretion, provided the artificial means are employed lawfully and not with the intention of producing an accretion, for the doctrine of accretion applies to the result and not to the manner of its production.”

An interesting case in this respect is that of The Anna. During the war, the British privateer Minerva captured the Spanish vessel Anna near the mouth of the river Mississippi. When it was brought to the British Prize court, the United States claimed her on the ground that she was captured within the American territorial sea. Lord Stowell gave the claim to the Americans because though the capture actually took three miles off the coast of the continent, the place of capture was within 3 miles of some mud islands composed of earth and trees which has drifted down the sea.


Subjugation is the acquisition of territory by conquest followed by annexation. This direct mode of acquisition is often called title by conquest. In those days war wasn’t illegal and so making of war was recognized as a sovereign right. There is a very fine distinction between cession and subjugation. Like compulsory cession, conquest followed by annexation would transfer territory by compulsion, but unlike cession, it involved no agreement between the concerned parties. In most cases, the victors in a war enforced a treaty of cession.

Simple title by subjugation is rare. Article 10 of the League of Nations Covenant made it unlawful to wage war for the purpose of acquiring territory. The acquisition of territory through the use of force is also outlawed by the Charter of the United Nations[xiv], which obliged the member States to refrain from the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.

This same principle is reaffirmed in the 1970 General Assembly “Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”. This Declaration adds that the territory of a State shall not be the object of acquisition by another State resulting from the threat or use of force and that no territorial acquisition resulting from such act shall be recognized as legal.

It is to be noticed that conquest alone doesn’t ipso facto make the conquering state the territorial sovereign of the conquered state. The conqueror has to after firmly establishing the conquest, formally annex the territory once the war had ended.

After the Second World War Germany had surrendered unconditionally, Great Britain, U.S.A, Russia, and France signed a joint declaration and assumed ‘supreme authority’ with respect to Germany. It was stated that the assumption of these powers did not affect the annexation of Germany and that her future status would be determined by the four states issuing a declaration. In 1990 Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic became the territory of the German state when the four powers renounced pursuant to agreements their original status as occupants.

Although subjugation is an original mode of acquisition, since the sovereignty of the acquiring state is not derived from that of the state formerly sovereign of the territory, the new sovereign is nevertheless the successor of the former. Doctrine and practice suggest that the national status of the subjects of the subjugated state and those domiciled on the annexed territory who remain on the annexed state become ipso facto subjects of the subjugating state by the act of subjugation.

A more recent example of annexation would be that of Iraq over Kuwait in 1990.  Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing Iraqi oil through slant drilling. The invasion started on 2 August 1990, and within two days of intense combat, most of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces were either overrun by the Iraqi Republican Guard or escaped to neighboring Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The state of Kuwait was annexed, and Hussein announced in a few days that it was the 19th province of Iraq.

After the decisive Iraqi victory, Saddam Hussein installed Ala a Hussein Ali as the Prime Minister of the “Provisional Government of Free Kuwait” and Ali Hassan al-Majid as the de facto Governor of Kuwait. The Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait were unanimously condemned by all major world powers. Even countries traditionally considered to be close Iraqi allies, such as France and India, called for immediate withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait. On 3 August 1990, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 660 [xv]condemning the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and demanding that Iraq unconditionally withdraw all forces deployed in Kuwait.


A prescription can be defined as ‘the acquisition of sovereignty over a territory through a continuous and undisturbed exercise of sovereignty over it during such a period as is necessary to create under the influence of historical development the general conviction that the present condition of things is in conformity with the international order.’[xvi]

There was no rule laid down as regards the length of time or other circumstances necessary to create such a title by prescription. The conditions differ from case to case basis. As long as other states keep up protests and claims, the actual exercise of sovereignty isn’t disturbed, nor is there the general conviction that the present condition of things is in conformity with international order. After such protests cease, however, there may be a situation arising where it becomes in conformity with the international order. The question of what time and under what circumstances such a condition of things arises is one of fact merely.

There are innumerable circumstances at work besides the mere lapse of time to create conviction that in the interest of stability and order the present owner should be considered the rightful owner of the territory. Also, since a lot of these factors may be political or historical in nature the length of time may differ considerably in different cases.

Whereas many authors like Oppenheim and Schwarzenbenger consider these to be two different subjects many modern authors like to divide Prescription into two types: either ‘extinctive’ or ‘acquisitive’. The prescription used in the sense of extinctive prescription can be similar to the “law of limitation”. Suppose country A has an International claim against country B but fails to bring it before any international tribunal within a reasonable period of time without any obstruction from country B then, it may be rejected by the tribunal later.

This feature as applied to property law says that his substantive rights are not abolished though he cannot enforce them with action anymore. ‘Acquisitive Prescription’ deals with cases where the original title is invalid or where the original title of the territory is impossible to prove. The doctrine says that the party who succeeds in establishing its title gets the substantive rights while those of the former state are abolished.[xvii]

The following illustrations will make the concept clearer. Suppose, a state had under mala fide intention held an island by occupation knowing that it belonged to another country. If it succeeds in keeping its possession for so long that the former possessor has given up on protesting and the possession remains undisturbed for long then it may be said that the condition has become in conformity with the international order and the title ay rightfully be passed on to the new possessor state by prescription.

Similarly, if a map has an incorrectly drawn borderline which allots to one of the states a certain tract of territory and is for a long period of time considered to be correct; the conviction will prevail that the present condition is in conformity with the international order. Even if afterward the wronged state protests and demands the line to be redrawn the limitation principle works and the claim will be rejected.

Loss of State Territory

Now that we have discussed all modes of acquiring territory or rather acquiring sovereignty over territory we can easily point out the corresponding methods of losing state territory. These are cession, dereliction, operation of nature, subjugation, prescription and there is a sixth mode that is Revolt. Loss of territory by subjugation, cession, and prescription is pretty straightforward and requires no further explanation. It’s simply the corresponding loss of territory due to the gain of that territory by another state.

Revolt, on the other hand, has been accepted as a mode of losing territory to which there is no corresponding mode of acquisition. There is no hard and fast rule regarding the time when a state which has broken off from another can be established permanently as another state. A revolt, however, seems to be more of a political issue than a legal mode of loss of territorial sovereignty.

Dereliction as a mode of losing territory corresponds to occupation. Dereliction frees a territory from the sovereignty of the present state possessor. When the owner state completely abandons a territory with the intention of withdrawing from it permanently and relinquishing sovereignty over it dereliction is effected. Actual abandonment alone cannot amount to dereliction as it is assumed that the owner will and can retake possession. Hence, just like occupation there has to be an abandonment of territory (corpus) and an intention (animus) to withdraw too.

We shall lastly discuss the loss of territory due to natural causes, as an operation of nature. Just like accretion adds to state territory, the disappearance of land due to natural factors is ipso facto a loss of state territory. Thus, if an island submerged or a river changes its course so as to eat into part of the territory of the state there is a loss of territory. This topic is widely gaining importance nowadays in the global scenario because the rapid changes in the environment have caused a substantive rise in sea level.

This has led to the threat submergence of several island nations. These nations are facing severe issues and are looking for support from other countries as their territory is under the threat of completely vanishing altogether. Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, Fiji etc are some of the countries that have already lost major portions of their territory due to rising sea levels and have started asking neighboring countries to provide their subjects with the territory to live. These residents have now formed a class of people called environmental refugees and their rights under international law are a subject of wide discussion.


So through this paper, we have seen firstly the importance of territory for a State to exist, the exercise of sovereignty by a state over its territory and the kind of conflicts that might emerge due to state boundaries. Also, the various methods by states acquire and lose territory were briefly discussed. In conclusion, I would like to say that issues regarding state territory and sovereignty are going to crop up very often in the international scenario considering the ever growing population and its needs. There is a strong requirement for a powerful and authoritative international agency which can effectively take steps to solve and possibly avoid issues that concern state territory. With an increase of globalization in today’s world, there is already a fair portion of every state’s population that is residing outside its own territory. International law principles need to be developed so as to keep in pace with the rampant globalization and industrialization across the globe.

Formatted on March 14th, 2019.


[i] Sir R.Jennings and Sir A.Watts, Oppenheim’s International Law – Vol.I Peace, 9th ed., Longman 1996, pp.563, 564.

[ii] See The Case of the S.S. “Lotus”, France v. Turkey, PCIJ , Series A No.10(1927), at p.18 : Now the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that – failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary – it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State. In this sense jurisdiction is certainly territorial; it cannot be exercised by a State outside its territory except by virtue of a permissive rule derived from international custom or from a convention.

[iii] Article 2 of the Geneva Convention on the Territorial sea and Contiguous Zone 1958 :

Legal status of the territorial sea, of the air space over the territorial sea and of its bed and subsoil

1. The sovereignty of a coastal State extends, beyond its land territory and internal waters and, in the case of an archipelagic State, its archipelagic waters, to an adjacent belt of sea, described as the territorial sea.

2. This sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as to its bed and subsoil.

3. The sovereignty over the territorial sea is exercised subject to this Convention and to other rules of international law.

[iv] Latin for up to the Heavens.

[v] Whether adjudication too is a mode of acquisition of state territory is debatable. Adjudication occurs where a conference of the victorious powers at the end of a war assigns territory to a particular state for the sake of settlement of peace.

[vi]State Territory and Territorial Sovereignty, Available at: https://sites.google.com/site/walidabdulrahim/home/my-studies-in-english/6-state-territory-and-territorial-sovereignty. Last visited on: 17/04/2014

[vii] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Nanking. last visited on: 17/04/2014

[viii]The International Law of Territorial Acquisition in the Japan-Korea Island Dispute by Sean Fern, Available at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/sjeaa/journal51/japan2.pdf , last visited on 20/04/2014

[ix] Note that territory inhabited by tribal communities cannot be regarded as res nullis.

[x]Legal Status of Eastern Greenland, (Den. v. Nor.), 1933 P.C.I.J. (ser. A/B) No. 53

[xi] Supra n. 8

[xii] A line following the lowest part of a valley whether under water or not

[xiii] Clarke v. City of Edmonton 1939 SCR 137

[xiv] Art. 2(4) All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

[xv] RESOLUTION 660 (1990),  Adopted by the Security Council at its 2932nd meeting, on 2 August 1990, Available at:https://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0660.htm Last visited on 20/04/2014

[xvi] Sir R.Jennings and Sir A.Watts, Oppenheim’s International Law – Vol.I Peace, 9th ed., Longman 1996, pp.706

[xvii]Acquisitive Prescription in International Law by D.H.N Johnson. Available at: http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/byrint27&div=14&id=&page=, Last visited on: 20/04/2014

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