Back Ön itt van: English Articles Georgian-Russian Conflict: some words about the right on secession

Georgian-Russian Conflict: some words about the right on secession

The Georgian-Russian1 armed war lasted only several days but at the same time it lead to very complicated conflict where legal and political problems were mixed. This conflict is frequently discussed and touches upon various issues of economical, political and other such controversial fields. In my opinion one of the most important issues which had been provoked such a conflict was the issues of state structure and state sovereignty.

State sovereignty is a topic of current importance in international politics nowadays. At the same time it's not only political issue – first of all it's a legal matter.

During the conflict, we could see a broad violation of rights including the violation of international humanitarian law. Various international organizations paid attention to this issue and both sides were responsible for committing violations against human rights throughout the region. However, I'd like to briefly discuss the issues concerning the violation of "a right of a state" – the right of a state on its own territory and the violation of the right on national sovereignty. According to international law sovereignty is one of the basic rights of a state2 so this issue is more in the scope of legal science than of a political field. Russia committed serious violations of international law and didn't respect the sovereignty of another country. The following action – the declaration of the sovereignty of 2 republics by Russian government – was inadmissible. It's funny to notice that when we just look through the recent history of Russia we can easily find similar stories3. Moreover the violation of human rights in Chechnya was more intense and the duration of armed anti-human actions of the government was longer.

Secession and the independence of national groups are frequently discussed topics nowadays and the conflict in Ossetia created a very dangerous precedent in this field. There are many political issues in Russian-Georgian conflict where we can agree with several points of view at the same time. But I suppose this issue shouldn't be one of them – the secession in this situation took part in an illegal way, it took part only on the grounds of the decision of one foreign country – it wasn't pure secession.

Yes, Georgia committed the violation of human rights on its territory. Moreover, it started the activities against national minorities – people from Abkhazia and South Ossetia – a long time ago – it strongly restricted the rights of these republics within the state4.

Yes, Georgia didn't provide its autonomies by broad political rights – but it's a state with a very short history of independence. It would be naïve to expect the recognition of broad political rights for national minorities from such young country as, for instance, Belgium and Switzerland can provide. The history of many states starts by wars for the independence of the parts of the country. When such actions are successful there is a ground to say about the implementation by the national group of the right on secession but when it fails we can establish a fact evidencing the activities of criminal groups against the territorial integrity of the country – history is ready to justify everything! Nevertheless, in the above mentioned situations, the conflict among different provisions of international law – the human rights, the right on state sovereignty and the right on autonomy for national minorities – took place.

There is significant lack of international regulation but moreover – in this situation the international law demonstrated its incapacity to be an effective regulator for the relations among countries.

There is definitely strong need in powerful international institutions which could provide effective regulation during the conflicts. Nowadays we can see active development of integration within the European Union – at the same time the partnership among countries outside of EU is developing not so actively5. There is a demand in continuing development of international law and its mechanisms of influence on the countries and its influence on the members of the governments6. And the best time to develop such kinds of partnership – the partnership for the creation the mechanisms of international law7 which would be able to prevent the conflicts in future – is peaceful time.

Summarizing the mentioned above issues, I'd like to highlight that the Russian-Georgian conflict demonstrated the weakness of international law and the weakness of the principles of international law. It also created a very dangerous precedent – if the autonomies can so easily get independence in one country, then without doubt this could be a bad example for the national minorities in other states.

Unfortunately in this conflict the confrontation between politics and law has been won by politics. Both parties of the conflict committed serious violation of rights but in spite of this fact, one country never has the right to determine the territorial structure of another state.

Emberi Jogok Egyetemes Nyilatkozata

Emberi Jogok Egyetemes Nyilatkozata

Elfogadva és kihirdetve az ENSZ Közgyűlésének 217 A (III) határozata alapján, 1948. december 10-én.

A 30 pontból álló Nyilatkozat az élet minden területét felölelő jogokról és szabadságjogokról szól. Elolvashatjátok és megismerhetitek oldalunkon.

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