University of Leicester
2023MustafaBPhD.pdf (2.11 MB)

The Extension Of The Right Of Self-Determination In The Post-Cold War Era

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posted on 2023-08-10, 10:47 authored by Blerim Mustafa

The present thesis assesses the extent to which the right of self-determination entails a right to remedial secession in the post-Cold War era. Through the prism of the remedial right doctrine, it explores how and under what conditions cases of remedial secession have brought about a change in the perception among the international community regarding the progressive development of remedial secession as a viable norm to help settle post-Cold War contentious self-determination disputes. In light of the case-studies’ – Timor-Leste, Kosovo and Iraqi Kurdistan – precedent-setting impact, post-Cold War state practice demonstrates greater flexibility in accommodating secessionist claims and a limited right to remedial self-determination. Regardless of the merits of a particular case, the right to remedial secession is not self-executing, and the realisation of this mode of external self-determination is contingent on favourable international political constellations. Henceforth, there is a greater likelihood of a favourable secessionist outcome, once the host state is persuaded by a consensus of the international community, to give its political consent to such an outcome. From this standpoint, an act of secession without the consent of the host state, although legitimate from the perspective of remedial secession, is not yet considered as a sustainable and viable mode of settling contentious self-determination disputes, since the sources of continued conflict are still present, and a danger of armed conflict cannot be excluded. In conclusion, the thesis suggests that the applicability of remedial right norms to address post-Cold War secessionist disputes are conditioned by the political support provided by external powerful states to seceding-aspiring entities. Thus, the viability and applicability of remedial right secession as a universal norm to settle contentious secessionist conflicts continue to depend on the perceptions of justice and political viability by the international community and involved parties.



Tara McCormack; Kelly Staples

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Politics and International Relations

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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