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89 Nordic J. Int'l L. 1 (2020)

handle is hein.journals/nordic89 and id is 1 raw text is: 

 BRILL                         89 (2020) 1-37                       LAW
 N IJ H O F F                                                     brillcom/nord

Waiting for Abkhazia: Secession and Borders as

International Legal Instruments in Contested


        Shorena Nikoleishvili
        Faculty of Law, University of Turku, FI-2052o Turku, Finland


The article explores the contested claims for sovereignty of Abkhazia through the lens
of secession. It maps the evolution of the law on secession from the early 20th century
to the present, with an attempt to find a doctrinal fit to the claims of Abkhazian seces-
sion from Georgia. The article suggests that rather than reflecting any of the existing
modalities for legal or legitimate secession, Abkhazia together with other cases stem-
ming from the post-Soviet space constitute a sui generis modality for secession. The
article argues that this modality has a particularly tragic outcome for all of its partici-
pants, sentencing the secessionist regions in the post-Soviet space to a permanent
state of flux.


secession - borders - international law - territory - minorities - Georgia - Abkhazia

i       Introduction

At the  turn of the millennium,  the  question of democratic   secession sur-
faced through the calls for independence for Quebec,1 and while it would be an

1  I would like to thank James Summers for inviting me to a conference many years ago to
   present a shell of an idea and providing valuable feedback, and to Toni Selkala for reading
   through the final manuscript. The usual disclaimer applies. Reference re Secession of Quebec,
   20 August 1998, Supreme Court of Canada, <scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/
   1643/index.do>, visited on 8 August 2019; F. Mendez and M. Germann,'Contested Sovereignty:

©  KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2020 1 DOI:10.1163/15718107-BJA10001

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