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International Law

International Law (2nd edn)

Antonio Cassese
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date: 24 September 2021

4. States as the Primary Subjects of International Lawlocked

4. States as the Primary Subjects of International Lawlocked

  • Antonio CasseseAntonio CasseseFormer Professor of International Law, University of Florence and winner of the Wolfgang Friedmann Memorial Award for 2007 for outstanding contributions to the field of international law


This chapter begins with a brief review of traditional and new subjects in international law. States and insurgents are ‘traditional’ subjects of the international community, in the sense that they have been the dramatis personae (the characters of the play) on the international scene since its inception. In the twentieth century, and increasingly after the Second World War, other poles of interest and activity have gained international status. They are: international organizations, national liberation movements, and individuals. The emergence of these relatively ‘new’ subjects is a distinct feature of modern international law. The discussion then covers the commencement of the existence of States; the role of recognition; and continuity and termination of the existence of States.

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