Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

International law and title to territory in Africa

International law and title to territory in Africa Thumbnail


Territorial issues have historically assumed a central role in international relations. Despite considerations relating to, for example, human rights and economic and social cooperation, the territorially based view of international law remains the fundamental model and is subscribed to by third world States.
The acquisition of territory in Africa by the European powers in the nineteenth century involved the characterisation of the status of the various African communities. These were accepted as holding title to their territory, but not regarded as full subjects of international law. Cession was the primary technique used in the colonisation of Africa.
The right of peoples to self-determination is today one of the leading principles of international law and this has implications as regards the law of territory. The right, which has emerged through the United Nations by means of Charter Interpretation, has been fairly specifically defined in State practice. It may be seen as the right of the people of a non self governing colonial territory to determine its own political future within the borders of the colonially defined territory. The obligatory nature of the colonially determined borders Is reinforced in Internationa! la, by rules about succession to boundary treaties. Self-determination has alao had an Impact as regards the recognised criteria for Statehood, but it has not been deemed applicable to secession from independent States.
Also relevant to the la» of territory Is the question of the use of force, both particularly »1th regard to, for example, the acqulsltltlon of territory by force, and more generally as regards wars of self-determination.


(1979). International law and title to territory in Africa


Downloadable Citations