Article 8

8.1.3 Territorial integrity


Article 2(4) of the UN Charter requires all member states to ‘refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.’ While the Charter does not define what it actually means by ‘territorial integrity’, it is now well recognised and reflects the fundamental international objective in the stability of boundaries.232 In 1986, a chamber of the ICJ considered the principle as one of general international law.233 This view was confirmed by the ‘Badinter Commission’ regarding the former Yugoslav republics, stating that ‘whatever the circumstances, the right of self-determination must not involve changes to existing frontiers at the time of independence.’ 234

232 A Aust, Handbook of International Law (Cambridge University Press 2005) at 41.

233 Burkino Faso v Republic of Mali, ICJ Reports (1986), at 554; 80 ILR 459.

234 Opinion No. 2; ILM (1992) 1497; 92 ILR 167; referring to the internal boundaries of the former Republic of Yugoslavia.

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