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Self-determination of Peoples as United Nations Principle. Historical Roots and Contemporary International Law/Municipal (Constitutional) Law Antinomies

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Chapter Summary

It is sometimes suggested that self-determination, as an International Law principle, has its origins in U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, addressed to a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress in January, 1918. In its post-Napoleonic development, throughout the 19th century in Europe, self-determination takes the form of an invoking of the spirit of Nationalism, in order to overthrow and expel reactionary foreign rulers; The Friendly Relations Declaration enshrines as one of seven cardinal principles of Friendly Relations (Coexistence), "the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples" as set out in the U.N. Charter. The disintegration and eventual dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia represents a significant case study for testing the ambit and extent of the legal principle of self-determination today.

Keywords: International Law; self-determination; U.N charter; Woodrow Wilson



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