Territorial disputes: Crimea (Part 16) [Post 81]

Crimea and the “egalitarian shared sovereignty”

The question at issue now is to decide, by respecting these two pre-requisites, how to share sovereignty. Ergo, the issue is what would constitute a reasonable allocation of sovereignty over the third territory amongst sovereign States A and B and the third territory C as equal claimants—i.e. Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea, whose equality of claim is in no way affected by whatever other situation they already have; and that allocation has a target: the third territory (Crimea) and all that it implies in terms of rights and obligations. 

By acknowledging the circumstances in sovereignty conflicts, that is, different agents and an ample concept such as sovereignty, and the way in which the original position has been set up, a revised principle may offer comparable advantages that may make it a reasonable option. 

Firstly, we must remind us of the fact that the representatives of the three parties are behind the veil of ignorance as characterized before in this paper. Hence, they are deprived of knowledge in regard to which party they represent. It is reasonable for them and likely to agree that each party has a right to participate in each aspect of sovereignty, regardless of their particular circumstances, i.e. their development or ability, because no one would want to be left out. In other words, they would agree that ideally, they would have ‘equal’ shares of sovereignty over the third territory, which means that the three claimants would have equal standing or status. Therein, all three parties would have a right to participate and the decision-making process in each case would be subject to egalitarian consensus: all the three parties should be granted an equal input into the decision-making process. They all have the opportunity to present, and amend proposals in relation to every aspect of the sovereignty of the third territory.

A second point has to do with factual circumstances. The representatives would acknowledge that it would be hard to see how after lifting the veil of ignorance all the three parties had the same relative situations such as economic development, defense system, means for exploitation of natural resources, law, and so on. It is reasonable to think that the representatives would agree that the degree of each party’s participation would vary according to each party’s ability to contribute. As per the previous paragraph, it is also reasonable to suppose that each party would as well have an interest in each aspect of sovereignty. Therefore, and bearing in mind these two circumstances—equal right to participate and different ability to contribute—it is reasonable to maintain that each party would have an interest in each aspect of sovereignty being handled in the most efficient manner.

A third point would be to determine the level of input and output of each party with regard to each objective/area/activity related to the sovereignty over the third territory. In principle, the representatives may think of distributing what benefits or rights each party would enjoy depending on the level of contribution that the party makes. Indeed, they acknowledge that some parties will be able to make a bigger or larger input than others. However, an immediate problem arises. 
The representatives would realize that by making the output dependant on the level of each party’s input this could result in a subterfuge for domination. That is to say, the better off party contributing more towards one or more areas and therefore securing a larger stake while the other two parties were unable to make the same level of contribution that would be translated in an ad eternumshare of benefits.

Tomorrow the post will refer to a proviso to avoid this kind of potential form of domination or imposition.

NOTE: This post is based on Jorge Emilio Núñez, Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty. International Law and Politics (Routledge 2020).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: Crimea, negotiations and a proviso.

Monday 9th March 2020

Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @London1701

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