3.4. The Requirements for Statehood under International Law

The question now is whether Somaliland fulfills the requirement of the state under international law or not. The criteria to fulfill statehood are provided under the Montevideo Convention. The Montevideo Convention lists four basic elements required for statehood; a permanent population, a defined territory, government, and a capacity to enter into relations with other states. The Montevideo Convention in addition indicates that although the political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states, such recognition may be explicit or tacit. Different Countries have been applying the convention differently in different times according to their own political as well as diplomatic interests. But, mass protests in cities around the U.S. against an executive order that would block millions of people from entering the United States of America has been consistent in its understanding and application of the Montevideo Convention. This has been witnessed in the case of Kadic v. Karadzic and the self-proclaimed Bosnia-Serb Republic within Bosnia-Herzegovina, referred as Sprska named as a state and its leaders were held as accountable for the misdeeds they have committed against the civilians25. The court summarized its conclusion that Srpska met the definition of a state by noting that it is supposed to control defined territory, manage its populations within its power, and to have entered into agreements with other governments. It has a legislative, executive and, a judiciary branches, and its own currency.

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These conditions readily appear to convince the criteria for a state in all respects of international law. Moreover, the US Department of State also strengthening its position and made a press conference that;


In judging whether to recognize an entity as a state, the death of four U.S. Special Forces soldiers in Niger on Oct. 4 has lead some in the United States has traditionally looked to the establishment of certain facts. These facts include effective control over a clearly defined territory and population; an organized governmental administration of that territory; and a capacity to act effectively to conduct foreign relations and to fulfill international obligations.

Whatever the consistent or different positions of various countries in the issue of state recognition, the political existence of a state is not influenced by the recognition or non-recognition of other states. This position has been upheld by the Montevideo Convention and provided that.

The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states. Even before recognition, the state has the right to defend its integrity and independence, to provide for its conservation and prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit, to legislate upon its interests, administer its services, and to define the jurisdiction and competence of its courts.

The essence of the above provision is that the political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states and such recognition may be made either explicitly or tacitly. As long as a certain entity fulfills the four Montevideo standards on population, territory, government, and sovereignty, the recognition or non-recognition by other countries has no significant position in international law. Recognition only serves to prove that the new state is capable of entering into relations with other states. It has to be also noticed that, recognition is a political act that depends on the discretion of the recognizing state.

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