The Recognition of States: Law and Practice in Debate and Evolution

The Recognition of States: Law and Practice in Debate and Evolution

The Recognition of States: Law and Practice in Debate and Evolution

The Recognition of States: Law and Practice in Debate and Evolution

Synopsis

Recognition of states has commanded fresh attention since the break-up of multi-ethnic federations in Eastern Europe. New state practice concerning recognition requires a new assessment of how we think about recognition. Thomas D. Grant shows how an old doctrinal debate over recognition has faded, but how and why writers continue to use the terms of that debate. Grant goes on to argue that international decision-making process, not doctrine, is the more important issue surrounding recognition today.

Excerpt

Recognition, the topic of this book, captured my attention as a third-year JD candidate at the Yale Law School. It was autumn 1993, and I was taking W. Michael Reisman's course on public international law. Professor Reisman gave each student the choice of writing either a final examination or a research paper. If electing the latter, the student was to choose a topic of current relevance to public international law and discuss it in the form of an 'incident study.' Interested in the events then still unfolding in Yugoslavia, I thought an incident study a good vehicle by which to examine them. The disintegration of Yugoslavia, gravest European crisis since World War II, had raised a number of problems for international law. Not the least of these was how to address the advent of new states. My writing focused on the decision by Germany to extend diplomatic recognition in December 1991 to Croatia and Slovenia. Recognition had aroused resistance at the time and subsequently drew accusations that a precipitate German diplomacy had exacerbated tensions in southeastern Europe. Some observers even went so far as to place on policymakers in Bonn the blame for the later Bosnian civil war.

This subject eventually led me to undertake research into the law of recognition and, in turn, into a venerable debate over the legal nature of recognition. Though my initial interest had centered around the diplomatic, political, and legal factors influencing an existing state in its decision to recognize, the nature of recognition was an unavoidable question. I soon discovered that the sheer bulk of scholarly matter on the nature of recognition defied rapid assimilation. It in fact demanded a subsidiary research project in its own right. Gaining a command of the literature on the subject -- a requirement for any doctoral dissertation -- in the case of my research became the core of a related but distinct work. This monograph is the result of an . . .

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