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5. International Law and Territorial Boundaries

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is concerned with the legal principles applicable to territorial, as distinct from maritime, boundary delimitations that have evolved from the decisions of international courts and tribunals. While the aim is to search for the core legal principles of international law, many boundaries established during the colonial period were drawn by 'a blue pencil and a rule'. While the object of this chapter is to identify the normal rules that determine the outcome of territorial boundary disputes, it is recognized that overwhelmingly the allocation of boundaries is achieved through diplomatic negotiations that are subsequently reflected in treaties or in consensus-based state practice. The chapter presents a relatively narrow aspect of boundary delimitation; that is, the legal jurisprudence that is part of wider state practice that has been set out in the earlier chapters. Tribunals also take into account principles of equity and contemporary norms of human rights and self-determination.

Keywords: boundary delimitations; colonial period; diplomatic negotiations; international courts; International Law; legal principles; Territorial Boundaries; territorial boundary disputes; tribunals



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