Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


After four decades of relative stability, the modern international system finds itself face to face with an old problem, a problem resulting from two of the major developments of our time: the breakdown of the "world socialist system" and the disappearance of its leader, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (hereinafter USSR) itself. Both events were welcomed by the international community because they ended the danger of a confrontation between West and East. But at the same time they revived the world's old troubles with disintegrated states. The USSR and Yugoslavia have collapsed and the world has seen the peaceful dissolution of the Czechoslovak Federation. This entire series of striking developments, whether comparatively peaceful, as in the USSR, or extremely bloody, as in Yugoslavia, has once again reminded the international community of the need for a final solution to the question of the right of self-determination, and, more particularly, that part of the right of self-determination known as the right to secede, or the right of secession.