Recognition of Governments in International Law and the Recent Conflict in Libya

In: International Community Law Review
Anne Schuit Young Professional Research Initiative (YPRI) Amsterdam The Netherlands

Search for other papers by Anne Schuit in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



The meaning of recognition of governments varies in time and between individual States. At a minimum it entails that the recognising State wishes to be bound by the international legal consequences of recognition. How to recognise a government is not defined, as the decision whether or not to recognise a government is a unilateral act and at the discretion of each individual State. The most important criteria for recognising a government are the effective control and the legitimacy doctrine, although some States have decided to abolish the recognition of governments all together. Applying the criteria for recognition of governments to the conflict in Libya in 2011, it is concluded that the recognition of the Transitional National Council by some States while the Gadaffi regime was still in control over large parts of the territory is probably not supported by the effective control or legitimacy doctrine. This could invoke State responsibility.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 8128 3539 194
Full Text Views 493 116 4
PDF Views & Downloads 634 336 16