THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION

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THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION IN SOUTH SUDAN

ABSTRACT

This thesis entitled: “The Right to Self-Determination; A Case Study of South Sudan” centered on the legal challenges inherent in the attainment of statehood through self-determination outcomes. The thesis from the general perspective is directed towards addressing the problem of securing independence through self- determination of peoples as well as the ensuing legal challenges associated with post secession disputes particularly as it relates to South Sudan. The objective of the research is to locate the complexities associated with the general application of the right to self-determination. Another objective of the research is to resolve the inherent challenges relating to the interpretation of the word “peoples” which is the centre stage of the right to self-determination. Furthermore, the research is intended to appraise the technical areas of agreements between Sudan and South Sudan and to address the post-secession disputes relating to citizenship, border disputes and disputes over natural resources. Consequently, the post secession humanitarian disputes arising from the civil war as well as attempts to bringing peace in South Sudan were explored. The research found that the right of self-determination is vague and ambiguous in the relevant legal instruments. Also, national self-determination appears to challenge the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty of states. Furthermore, the scope of the study is subject to differing views, hence it can be argued that uncertainty in the law of self-determination has contributed to many armed conflicts as the right is associated with notions of sovereignty. In line with the observations, it is recommended that in order to accommodate demands for minority rights, states should decentralize or devolve greater decision-making power to new existing sub units or even autonomous areas. Furthermore, it is recommended that the Uti Possidents juris lines may be modified by consent to ease tensions in certain given situations. Also, a legal clarification of the term people should be addressed by the international community and the role of the ICJ should be prominent in this regard. The doctrinal research methodology was primarily relied upon as text books, journal articles, newspapers/magazines, reports and other secondary sources such as internet materials formed the basis of the entire research contained in the thesis. The limitation of the research is the insistence by the interviewees not to be quoted for security reasons which hindered the researcher from publishing the contents of their interviews.

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