Volume II-Number 1

Avery W. Ward

Abstract: States are the foundation of international law, however they are loosely and inconsistently defined. In fact, many scholars and experts on international relations and international law have conflicting views about the requirements for statehood and the types of state recognition. After a comparison and analysis of existing theories, this article determines that the essential features that all states must have to be considered so are: a community of people, a fixed territory, and a government that has achieved sovereignty. However, one of the most controversial elements of statehood is becoming recognized as such by the international community. Recognition as a state affords the entity certain rights under international law, such as the right of equality, the right of self-preservation, and the right of legal intercourse. This article outlines the primary differences in how potential states are recognized by others in the international system and considers the implications that different types of state recognition can have on rights of states in question and their citizens under international law.

Keywords: International law, sovereignty, state recognition, state succession, international relations, recognition, treaties

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