Self-Determination, Remedial Secession and International Law: The Artsakh Crisis in Comparative Perspective

Remedial secession, a process whereby a people can declare independence, is a nebulous concept in international law and there are many questions surrounding its practice.

When can a people declare independence?

What is remedial secession and when may it apply?

What lessons can Palestine, East Timor and Western Sahara teach us about the Artsakh crisis?

The panel examined issues of external self-determination and remedial secession in the context of the recent Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh conflict. The goal was to place the Artsakh issue in a comparative perspective and survey the state of international law and practice at present on cases of remedial secession.

The Promise Institute for Human Rights hosted internationally respected panelists to bring their nuanced expertise to this conversation and assess what remedial secession might mean in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh.


John Dugard, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Sheila Paylan, public international lawyer specializing in international criminal law, humanitarian law and human rights, based in Armenia

Geoffrey Robinson, Professor of History at UCLA; former Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations in Dili, East Timor

Milena Sterio, Charles R. Emrick Jr. – Calfee Halter & Griswold Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and Co-Coordinator for Global Criminal Justice Partnerships at the Public International Law and Policy Group

Moderated by Aslı Ü. Bâli, Professor and Faculty Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law

With remarks from Ralph Bunche, General-Secretary, Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute, UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations, International & Comparative Law Program at UCLA Law, Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College, Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization, American Society of International Law