The Right to National Self-Determination: The Faroe Islands and Greenland

By Sjúrður Skaale | Go to book overview

5 - The Faroes as a Non-Self-
Governing Territory

Bjørn Kunoy


Introduction1

Ubi societas ihi jus. Every community needs a legal order. This is true for the international community, as it is for every other community. As in every municipal law system, international law is characterized by the attribution of subjects to diverse entities. The notion “international legal personality” is a synonym of “subject” in international law. An international legal subject is directly entitled to rights and has obligations under international law. As a preliminary illustration it can be interesting to see which entities are subjects under international law before examining whether The Faroes can be deemed to be such a subject.

Max Huber, in his famous arbitral award “The Palmas Islands”, in 1928 established that international law was the legal order of inter-state relations. This is not true in contemporary international law. A profound modification has occurred during the second half of the twentieth century. The subjects of the international legal order include not only states but, by extension, international organizations.’ Furthermore, a new international legal subject, attributable to individuals, has emerged and is today undeniable. The International Court of Justice explicitly affirmed this in the “LaGrand”’ Order. Colonial people can also be considered as international subjects as they dispose of rights and have obligations in international law separate from the metropolitan states.

This chapter will examine whether The Faroes can be considered as a colonial known territory and if so, whether it can become a subject in international law and is entitled to inherent rights under public international law.

1 I am grateful to Mr. Báróur Larsen and Mr. Martin Martinez Navarro for their remarks on the manuscript.

2 ICJ Report, 1949, “Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations”, Advisory Opinion, 11 April 1949, Ree. 1949, p. 179.

3 ICJ Report 2001, (Germany v. United States of America), p. 104, para. 77.

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