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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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Milena Sterio


Secession is one of many different processes of state creation. The creation of new states always results in the destabilization of existing territorial units of other sovereign states; because of the latter phenomenon, secession has been viewed with suspicion in the international community, and international law itself has never evolved to embrace a secession entitlement for specific groups under specific circumstances. This book’s aim was to propose and develop a new international framework for secession. The book has argued that the existing vacuum in international law regarding secession has led to inconsistent and at times unfair secessionist results dominated by the geopolitics of the Great Powers. Moreover, the book has argued that the development of a carefully crafted normative framework on secession would not undermine our international legal system, nor thwart existing international law norms.

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