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Sanctioning Colonial Legacies In The Sahara? The Construction Of Postcolonial Selfhood In The Libya/Chad Territorial Dispute

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Chapter Summary

On 3 February 1994 far from the mountainous and sandy expanses of the central Sahara, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) brought the protracted conflict between Libya and Chad to an end by ruling the Aouzou Strip separating the two states was part of Chad. This chapter explores how the parties as well as the Court drew boundaries, not only in the sand, but importantly, between 'law' and 'politics'. Libya's claims challenged prevailing understandings about international law's past by offering alternative approaches to international legal personality under colonialism. Historically, the Sahara has served as source of division, not only for the constitution of 'Arabness' but also for the allocation of international legal personality. Libya's rejection of uti possidetis was just as 'legal' as Chad's, but in failing to reflect the dominant discourse employed in postcolonial territorial disputes some of its arguments failed to convince a bench content with established practice.

Keywords: central Sahara; Chad; international legal personality; Libya; postcolonial territorial disputes



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