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

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

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Abstract

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.

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