Mirza Ljubovic


At a time of progressive development of public international law, the internal self- determination of peoples has no alternative, but external self-determination is justified in a situation where, as a result of oppression, dispossession, and collective discrimination, a certain people have full rights to freely determine its political, social, economic, and cultural setting. In the case of Kosovo, the right to “remedial secession” based on the right to external self-determination has been achieved. According to many legal scholars, the related right is an exception and could be realized outside the colonial context, in limited circumstances that resemble the colonial paradigm. Modern customary public international law provides a legal basis for the introduction of the concept of the right to “remedial secession” and forms an argument that is supported by the “Great Powers” and is consistent with international institutional practice provided that the people’s fundamental human rights are threatened. This article aims to explain through the case of Kosovo that the external form of self-determination, which includes secession, is possible only exceptionally in the case of grave violations of human rights and freedoms, war crimes, repression, and systematic oppression, and that the internal self-determination of the peoples is a more acceptable form of realizing this collective human right, which should be realized through broad constitutional and legal reforms in every multi- ethnic state (a certain degree of autonomy or decentralization).


modern public international law, self-determination, peoples, remedial secession, human rights

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