Territorial disputes: sovereignty (cont.) [Post 8]

Yesterday, we introduced the last key concept in territorial disputes: SOVEREIGNTY. Today the second (and final) post about SOVEREIGNTY. Broadly defined, SOVEREIGNTY is the exclusive right to exercise with autonomy and autarchy, within a specific state, the ultimate authority in terms of creation and application of law. The previous post covered some of the characteristics (i.e. exclusive right, autonomy and autarchy). The paragraphs below include a sketch of the remaining ones.

c) what is a specific state?
When we use the term state we refer to its four elements: territory, population, government and law.A certain rule or norm is only valid within the limits of the territory in which a state takes place. Such limits are established by history, international agreements, law in its broadest sense (i.e. in principle, Italian rules are valid and obligatory within Italy’s borders).
A given rule or norm is obligatory for any citizen (national or not) who is part of the population of that certain state (exceptions apply; for example, diplomats of other countries). Moreover, nationals of a state who for any circumstance are physically in the territory of another state are still obliged by certain rules that are part of the law of the state they are nationals from (again, exceptions apply; i.e. residency, bilateral agreements, etc.).
By government we mean any person or group of people (body) representing the population of a certain State with the capacity and in charge of the creation and application of law. The notion will be shortly developed under ultimate authority.
We use the term law in this definition with an ample meaning. We refer to any branch (civil, criminal, commercial, etc.) created in any way (legal, consuetudinary) that is part of the internal legal net despite its internal or external origin. If the second, it is necessary that this rule or norm had been accepted or had followed the internal procedures to become part of the national law (depending whether we follow monist or dualist theories).

d) what is ultimate authority?
By ultimate authority we mean any given person or group of people (body) that, representing a certain population, are the origin or creator of law for that population. There should not be any other authority with such a prerogative above them (legally speaking).

e) “Making law”: creation and application of law.
A state has authorities (individual and/or bodies) who represent the population (at least, in a democratic state). These authorities are the origin of law with for that that state (the law-makers). Following procedures, they create and interpret rules within the limits or the territory in relation to the people who constitute the population. 

In brief, sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise with autonomy and autarchy, within a specific State, the ultimate authority in terms of creation and application of law.

NOTE: This post is based on Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty: International Law and Politics,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2020 (forthcoming)Previous published research monograph about territorial disputes and sovereignty by the author, Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017.

NEXT POST: Territorial disputes, issues at stake.

Wednesday 25th September 2019 

Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @London1701

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