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May 23, 2024

Daily Legal Current Affairs for PCS (J) Judiciary 23 May 24 : Criteria for Statehood under International Law : Montevideo Convention

Why in News ?  Norway, Ireland and Spain have recently said that they would recognise a Palestinian state.

What are the criteria?

  • The most widely accepted criteria for statehood under international law come from the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, adopted in 1933. While not a formal treaty, it has become a cornerstone of customary international law.

What is Montevideo Convention?

  • The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States is a treaty signed at Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 26, 1933, during the Seventh International Conference of American States. The Convention codifies the declarative theory of statehood as accepted as part of customary international law.

The Convention outlines four main criteria:

  1. Permanent Population: There must be a group of people living together in the territory. This doesn’t require a specific size, but the population should be settled and not nomadic.
  2. Defined Territory: The state needs a clearly defined geographical area. While exact borders may be disputed, there should be a general understanding of the claimed territory.
  3. Government: An effective government that can maintain order and administer the territory is essential. This government should be able to carry out its functions throughout the claimed territory.
  4. Capacity to Enter into Relations with Other States: The entity must be able to establish diplomatic relations and participate in international agreements. This demonstrates its independence and ability to fulfill international obligations.

It’s important to note that recognition by other states is not a requirement for statehood according to the Montevideo Convention. However, recognition can be a political tool used by states to acknowledge a new state and establish diplomatic relations.

There are some additional considerations beyond the Montevideo Convention:

Independence: The state should not be under the control of another state.

Self-Determination: The people of the territory should have the right to decide their own political future.

Why Palestine has not been recognized as a state by some countries?

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine is a major hurdle. Israel’s security concerns and the status of Jerusalem are key sticking points.

Oslo Accords: These interim agreements haven’t led to a final peace treaty. Some argue recognizing Palestine undermines the negotiation process outlined in the Accords.

Internal Palestinian Divisions: The division between Hamas, which controls Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank, weakens the claim to a unified state.

International Law Interpretations: There are differing views on whether Palestine meets all the criteria of statehood under international law, particularly regarding control over territory.

Arguments for Recognition: Supporters believe Palestinians have the right to self-determination and recognition would strengthen their bargaining position for peace.

Arguments against Recognition: Some argue recognizing a Palestinian state before a peace deal rewards actions like Hamas attacks and weakens Israel’s security.

About the Oslo Accords:

They were a pair of interim agreements signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the early 1990s. They were a major attempt to move towards a peace treaty and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Two Agreements: There were two main accords:

Oslo I Accord (1993): Established a framework for Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Oslo II Accord (1995): Further defined the details of self-rule and addressed security arrangements.

Goals: The aim was to create a five-year interim period of Palestinian self-governance leading to permanent status negotiations on core issues like borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements.

Key Points:

Mutual Recognition: Israel recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinians and the PLO renounced violence and recognized Israel’s right to exist.

Palestinian Authority: Established the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Security Arrangements: Defined security cooperation between Israel and the PA.

The Oslo Accords have had a mixed legacy:

Positives: They brought a period of relative calm and offered a framework for peace.

Negatives: A final peace treaty was never reached. Violence continued, and the status of Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements remain unresolved.





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