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37 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 403 (1998-1999)
Defining Statehood: The Montevideo Convention and its Discontents

handle is hein.journals/cjtl37 and id is 411 raw text is: Defining Statehood: The Montevideo
Convention and its Discontents
Though in recent decades a proliferation of non-
state actors has changed the landscape of the
international community, the state itself remains a
critical component of    international law   and
international relations. One might assume from this
that writers and practitioners have a clear definition of
'state.' That, however, is not the case. Though states
hold key positions in international organizations, in
treaty-making, and in the shaping and controlling of
economic space, and, moreover, are the subject of great
volumes of academic and policy-making discourse,
attempts to set out a formal definition of 'state' have
eitherfailed to gain wide acceptance or unsatisfactorily
described the concept. The most widely accepted source
as to a definition of statehood is the Montevideo
Convention of 1933.
In this article, the Author begins by examining the
Convention in view of its antecedents, concluding that it
reflected then-prevailing views of statehood. Alternative
views existed, however, regarding territorial control and
'sovereignty.'  In tension with the four criteria
enunciated by the Montevideo Convention, these views
hinted at deficiencies in the Convention as an instrument
to 'codify' the concept of the state. The article goes on
to examine how views about statehood have waxed and
waned, and turns to scrutinize the Montevideo
Convention in light of evolving theories.    The
Convention in certain dimensions is now probably over-
inclusive, in others, under-inclusive. The article details
these. Proposing that special conditions in the 1930s
made states amenable to a codification exercise such as
the Montevideo Convention, the Author suggests that
* Ph.D. candidate, Cambridge University, Faculty of Law. AB, Harvard (1991); JD,
Yale (1994). Member, bars of Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, DC. The writer
thanks the US/UK Fulbright Commission and Cambridge Overseas Trust for supporting his
study at Cambridge. This article profited from suggestions on an earlier draft by Professor
James R. Crawford, the Author's Ph.D. supervisor.

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