Recognition in International Law

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Recognition is a very important subject of international law. Recognition is a process by which a new state becomes a member of the international community of states. In modern times, the importance of recognition has increased to a great extent. According to Professor Oppenheim, “the state of the international community as a member of that community by the recognition given to a new state, declares that in their opinion the new state has obtained the ascertained elements of a state as described by international law.

According to the Institute of International Law, granting recognition to one or more States is the independent act by which they accept that on a certain defined land, a group of politically organized persons constitutes an independent State and is able to fulfill its obligations of international law. By this style, the recognition offering states shows their willingness to understand the new state as a member of the international community of states.

According to Kelsen, any community can achieve recognition under international law when the following necessary elements are present: –

  • that it is politically organized,
  • that it has control over a defined territory of land,
  • that its control is effective and evolves towards certainty,
  • that the community is completely independent from other states.

In short, we can say that recognition giving state acknowledge that all elements of statehood are owned by the state that is being recognized. International law does not specify what will be the barometer of these essential elements.

Effects of Recognition

  • The recognized state gets a right to file claims in the court of state which grants recognition.
  • In the court of recognition granting state, the recognized state may enforce its past and present legislative and executive actions.
  • The recognized state enjoys immunity for its diplomatic and property matters.
  • The Ambassador and other diplomatic representatives of the recognized state are granted priviledges and immunities as matter of right.

Therefore, after obtaining recognition, a state becomes a full member of the international community of states as a matter of law with many other privileges and immunities attached.