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Secession in International Law

A New Framework

Milena Sterio

Secession in International Law argues that the effective development of criteria on secession is a necessity in today’s world, because secessionist struggles can be analyzed through the legal lens only if we have specific legal rules to apply. Without legal rules, secessionist struggles are dominated by politics and sui generis approaches, which validate secessionist attempts based on geo-politics and regional states’ self-interest, as opposed to the law. By using a truly comparative approach, Milena Sterio has developed a normative international law framework on secession, which focuses on several factors to assess the legitimacy of a separatist quest.
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Chapter 2: Secession

Milena Sterio


This chapter provides an introduction to the process of state creation known as secession. It first describes various processes through which states can be created, such as dissolution, merger, decolonization, and secession, focusing on the latter by discussing how the process of secession impacts the existence of states. Next, the chapter distinguishes between self-determination and secession, by demonstrating how these two theories are related yet distinct. Finally, the chapter concludes that international law, in its present state, does not contain positive norms on secession, and that this state of affairs is unsatisfactory.

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