4. Special assignment: Micronations | Manuel A. Gómez | August 01, 2016


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4. Special assignment: Micronations

by Manuel A. Gómez Show/Hide

From Micronations to Microstates (IRP #1)


International law is neither static nor isolated from the social, political and economic realities, and the influence of modern culture. One example of this dynamism can be found in the concept of “state”. As we discussed in our previous sessions, the Montevideo Convention of 1933 provides some guidance regarding the definition of state, the requirements for becoming a state, and the legal consequences that derive from it. One of the key elements of states, according to the Montevideo Convention is their “recognition”. Article 3 states, “The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states”; but as we also discussed in the case of Kosovo, recognition carries an important political and legal weight.


The contemporary discussion on recognition, and on the formation of states in general has mostly focused on the formation of new states that occupy large territories or which are deemed strategically important like Kosovo or Palestine. Notwithstanding, there is a rising interest on the formation of states created in relatively small land areas, and an equally small population. These are called “microstates”. A related concept is that of “micronations”, which have garnered media attention as you can see in the following CNN article: Mark Johanson, The people who create their own ‘countries’, CNN, February 20, 2015. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/27/travel/micronations/


The purpose of this special assignment is to explore the practical difficulties that arise when determining the qualification of state in the case of microstates and micronations. Your assignment will be to read the following law review article, and write a one page long commentary that addresses the topics indicated below. Gabriel Rossman, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (But Still So Far): Assessing Liberland’s Claim of Statehood, 17(1) Chicago Journal of International Law, 306 (2016). Available at: http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1709&context=cjil


Topics to consider when writing your assignment:

  1. What is the difference between microstates and micronations? And why does it matter?
  2. What are the main arguments in favor, and against determining whether Liberland is a state?
  3. Is there anything in the ICJ advisory opinion regarding the declaration of independence of Kosovo that can be helpful to assert or deny Liberland’s statehood?


Please, remember that the assignment is blind graded so make sure to write your ID provided by the registrar’s office, and make sure that your submission does not contain any form of personal identification.


The deadline to submit your assignment is Thursday, September 1 at 11:59 pm via TWEN.  


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