International Law Presentation

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Based on the above circumstances, answer the following questions:

1.Assess the ability of Maligait to exist as a state under international law.

The issue is whether Maligait can exist as a state under international law. According to Vitoria, state is defined as a perfect state or community complete in itself which is not part of another community but has its own laws, council, magistrate and has authority to declare war. The traditional criteria for statehood can be found in the Article 1 of Montevideo Convention 1933 which outlines that in order to qualify as a state, there are certain requirements which are; there must be permanent population, there must be a defined territory, there must be a government and lastly the capacity to enter into relations with other states. However, there are also requirements which are suggested as important requirements for an entity to claim statehood that can be seen in the Guidelines on the Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and in Soviet Union by the EC in 1991. These are the need to meet international standards on human rights and self-determination.

Firstly, according to the traditional requirement of statehood, there must be permanent population. According to Oppenheim, permanent population can be defined as an aggregate of individuals of both sexes who live together as a community in spite of the fact that they may belong to a different races or creeds, or be of different colour. There is no minimum population size to be adhered to in order to qualify as a state. The country of Tuvalu for example has only ten thousand inhabitants but still qualifies as having a permanent population.

Applying to the matter at hand, Maligait is inhabited by the Rocky Tribe whom migrated to Maligait in the middle of 17th century and has resided there ever since. There is no specific number of people residing in Maligait however as they resided there permanently since the 17th century, it can be said that there is a permanent population thus the first element is fulfilled.

The second requirement of statehood is a defined territory. In the Island of Palmas case[1], the court noted that territorial sovereignty involves the exclusive rights to display the activities of the state within a certain geographical area. However, it is not necessarily defined or agreed boundaries. There is no rule prescribing a minimum size if the territory of the State. Tuvalu for example is a state even though its territory is only seven square kilometres. According to John Crawford in Creation of States, the size of the territory is not what matters provided that there is an independent authority that exercises actual authority over the territory.

Applying to the matter at hand, even though there are no defined or exact borders to indicate a defined territory, Maligait can be said to have defined territory as it has an independant authority that exercises actual authority over the territory which is the Blood Rockers Liberation Movement (BRLM). BRLM exercise authority over the territory of Maligait as it was created to protect and govern the Rocky Tribe whom resides in Maligait. Thus their act of having actual authority over the territory constitutes a defined territory and the second requirement is fulfilled.

The third requirement is having a government. According to the traditional law of statehood, there criteria for government consists of two related divisions which are firstly the must be an institutionalized political, administrative and executive organizational machinery for the purpose of regulating the relations in the community and charged with the task of upholding the rules. Secondly is that there must be an effective government which means that the organizational machinery must actually exercise state authority over the claimed territory and the people residing in that territory. The fulfilment of these two criteria would constitute a government. In...
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