Justice and Recognizing the Rights of States

in International Criminal Law Review
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In this article, I reject Allen Buchanan's justice-based account of recognizing states as legitimate states in an international community of states. I argue that his account can fail to implement justice and that it does not properly consider the nature or importance of international law. After rejecting Buchanan's approach, I offer my account. My account calls for the unbundling of state rights, and it allows each state right to be subject to moral and legal scrutiny. My unbundling account subjects the rights of states to morally justified international laws, and it supports the conclusion that sovereignty and legitimacy should be seen in degrees. It also provides a framework for thinking about how, why and when, morally speaking, international institutions should have the power to grant or withhold legal rights from states.

Justice and Recognizing the Rights of States

in International Criminal Law Review




Allan BuchananJustice Legitimacy and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law (New York: Oxford University Press2004) p. 261. This article focuses on whether moral criteria ought to be included for recognitional legitimacy and takes as a starting point previous arguments on this issue in Chris Naticchia “Recognizing States and Governments” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (March 2005) 27–82; Buchanan Justice Legitimacy and Self-Determination ibid.; Allen Buchanan “Recognitional Legitimacy and the State System” Philosophy and Public Affairs 28 (1999) 46–78; Allen Buchanan “Rule-Governed Institutions Versus Act-Consequentialism: A Rejoinder to Naticchia” Philosophy and Public Affairs 28 (1999) 258–70; and Chris Naticchia “Recognition and Legitimacy: A Reply to Buchanan” Philosophy and Public Affairs 28 (1999) 242–57.


Buchananibid. p. 271. Buchanan calls this accomplice argument “the Obligation Not to Support Injustice Argument.”


Naticchia“Recognizing States and Governments,” ibid. pp. 41 49.


Michael WalzerJust and Unjust Wars (NY: Basic Books1977) p. 107.

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