Territorial disputes: State and its elements. Law [Post 6]

d) law:

Very broadly, law is a set of rules or norms that govern human behaviour. For the purpose of this series of posts, we only consider national law and international law when we refer to a sovereign state.

  • National law.
  • International law.


Very briefly, according to the traditional view, national law is the set of rules or norms that regulates the behaviour of a group of people within a territory. In other words, law is an obligation, a permission or a prohibition to do something (or not to do something). This law is created by someone (an individual, a body, an institution, representatives) for someone else (POPULATION) and is applicable within defined borders (TERRITORY).

International law has to do with rules and norms created because of the relationships between/among different sovereign states. There are other international agents in addition to sovereign states. For the purpose of this series, they are not included. For example, there are daily cases in which a supranational organs create and apply law that results immediately obligatory for some sovereign states that fulfil a certain criteria (i.e.: difference between European Union regulations and directives; German constitution of 1949, art. 25; and Argentinean constitution after 1994 reform, arts. 31 and 75.22; etc.). As a result, the law may have internal or external origin and be considered valid in both cases without altering the notion of State.

So far, we have introduced the term STATE and its classically accepted components: population, territory, government and law. All of these elements are necessary requirements for a State to exist. They must be present in the equation for a State to be.

The next posts will centre the attention on introducing another key concept in territorial disputes: SOVEREIGNTY. Once we finish with this simple and basic introduction of the key concepts STATE (population, territory, government and law) and SOVEREIGNTY we shall start presenting territorial disputes individually such as Falkland/Malvinas islands, Crimea, Kashmir, Catalonia, Gibraltar, Jerusalem, and man others.

Jorge Emilio Nunez

Twitter: @London1701

5th March 2018

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