The main addressors of the International law are the Sovereign states. For an
entity of being called a state and to enjoy rights, duties and obligations under
International law, it is necessary that the existing state have given awareness
of its capability of being a state. Such awareness by existing states is called
recognition. There are 198 countries in the World.193 member states of the
United Nations. Two countries Palestine and the Vatican –Observatory Status.
Three countries Kosovo, Taiwan ,Western Sahara recognized by most other
The term Recognition as an International legal term may be defined as under:
The acknowledgement or acceptance by the members of International community ,
that a new state has acquired International personality, is said to be
Essentials of Recognition:The main essentials of recognition may be given as under:
- That the community (of new state) must be politically organized
- That it should have control over a definite territory.
- That the control should tend towards permanency.
- That such community must be independent.
In other words, the attributes of statehood are People, territory, Government
Theories Of Recognition:
There are mainly two theories of Recognition which may be discussed as under:
- Constitutive Theory
Oppenheim, Hegel and Anziloti are the chief exponents of this theory. According
to this theory, the only certificate to issue international personality to a new
born state is the consent of the already existing states.
A new entity shall only be called a State when the existing states
acknowledges about its Statehood. So, the independence of a new entity shall not
amount it to be called a State unless it has not recognized by the existing
- The theory has severely been criticized by a number of Jurists.
- The States do not seem to accept recognition as a legal duty.
- It creates many difficulties when a community claims of being a new
state and its non-recognition will.
- It has no rights, duties and obligations under International law
- The theory is not correct in any sense so shall be rejected.
- Declarative Theory Or Evidentiary Theory
The chief exponents of this theory are Hall, Wagner, Fisher and Brierly.
According to this theory, the statehood or the authority of new Government is
not dependent on the consent of the existing state but is based on some prior or
According the followers of this theory, the recognition by the existing states
is merely a formal acknowledgement of the statehood and not the condition.
In fact, the statehood is dependent on the some prior conditions necessary for
an entity to be called as a state.
- The theory has also been criticized , because it is not correct that in
all cases, the existing fact shall imply the statehood, rather some time,
the statehood may be Constitutive.
- In fact there shall be intermediate Course of approach between the two
theories to understand recognition.
- The definition of Recognition depends upon the mode, scope and nature of
- Recognition may be sometimes Constitutive and sometimes declaratory.
Modes Of Recognition
There are two modes of recognition , which may be given:
- De facto Recognition
- De jure Recognition
- The Provisionally grant, that is subject to fulfillment of all the
attributes of statehood, of recognition to a new state which has acquired
sufficient territory and control over the same, but the recognizing states
considers it not stable more, is said to be Defacto Recognition
- The grant of recognition to a newborn state by an existing state, when
its considers that such new born state has attained all the attributes of
statehood with stability and permanency is called Dejure
- It is Provisional recognition subject to fulfillment of all attributes
- It is absolute recognition granted to a state which have attained all the
attributes of Statehood, Possess sufficient control with Permanency.
- It creates few essential rights and duties for recognized and
- It creates absolute rights for the parties thereto.
- It does not create full diplomatic intercourse between the parties.
- It creates full diplomatic intercourse between the Parties.
- The full diplomatic Immunities are not granted in this case.
- Here, full diplomatic relations are granted to the recognized State.
- In this case, the recognized state cannot claim for the property situate
in the recognizing state’s territory.
- In this case, the claim can be made.
- In such a case, the Official visits & dealings may be subjected to
- In such a case, limitations are not necessary.
Forms Of Recognition
There are following two forms for the declaration of recognition:
- Express Recognition
The declaration or notification by an existing State which purports the
intention to recognize a newly born State, the recognition is said to be Express
Recognition. When a formal and Express declaration or Statement is made and
Published or sent to the Opposite party, the recognition is said to be Express
- Implied Recognition
When the existing state shows its intention of recognition of a newly born state
by some acts, the recognition is said to be implied recognition.
In case of Implied recognition, no formal statement or declaration is to be
made, rather the intention of recognition is to be collected by the acts or
transactions of the existing states. So if such acts purport intention of
recognition , it is said to be implied recognition.
- Conditional Recognition
The grant of recognition by an existing state to a newly born state stipulated
on fulfillment some conditions in addition to the requirements of Statehood is
said to be Conditional Recognition.
As for as, the recognition is concerned it is itself conditioned with the
fulfillment of the essentials of Statehood, that is to say , the new State must
occupy some territory, has some Population, Government and Sovereignty.
If these requirements have been complied with by the new State, then that should
be recognized by existing States. But as for as, the Recognition is concerned
it is usually based on some Political considerations.
So , in the Pursuance of these Considerations, the existing States Sometimes
declare recognition but stipulated with certain other conditions for the
recognized State to be fulfilled.
- Premature Recognition
There is often a difficult and unclear dividing line between the acceptable
recognition of a new state, Particularly one that has emerged or is emerging as
a result of secession, and intervention in the domestic affairs of another
State by way of Premature or Precipitate Recognition.
- Collective Recognition
The recognition by means of an international decision, whether by an
international organization or not , Of course , Signify the importance of the
international Community in its Collective assertion of Control over membership
is called Collective Recognition.
The idea has been discussed since the foundation of the League of Nations and
again re-emphasized with the establishment of the United Nations, The membership
of the United Nations Constitutes Powerful evidence of Statehood.
Doctrine Of Non-Recognition:
A factual situation will not be recognized because of strong reservations as to
the morality or legality of the actions that have been adopted in order to bring
about the factual situation. It is a doctrine that has also been reinforced by
the principle that legal rights cannot derive from an illegal situation (ex
injuria jus non oritur). This approach was particularly stimulated by the
Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931.U.S Secretary of State declared in 1931,
the illegal invasion would not be recognized , it was contrary to 1928 pact of
Paris(the Kellogg-Briand Pact).
Withdrawal Of Recognition
Withdrawal of Recognition may be explained as under:
- Withdrawal of defacto Recognition
Withdrawal of defacto recognition is possible under International law only on
the ground that if the recognized State has been failed to fulfill the
Pre-requisite condition for Statehood. In such a case, the recognizing state may
withdrawn from the recognition by Communicating a declaration to the
authorities of recognized stated or by a Public Statement.
- Withdrawal of dejure Recognition
There are different views about the withdrawal of dejure recognition. But
according to the strict letters of International law and by the virtue of some
Conventions in this behalf, it is evident that the withdrawal of dejure
recognition is not valid in any case.
Though recognition is a political act but dejure by nature and Status it is a
But some Jurists think that dejure recognition may be withdrawn , because it is
a Political act. But in fact it is not so. Only those dejure recognitions may be
withdrawn where a State subsequently loses any essential of Statehood. In such a
case, the State withdrawing from recognition shall send his express intention to
the concerned authority issue a Public Statement to that extent.
Recognition Of Government
Government is an essential of Statehood. By government it is meant the
administrative and controlling tool of a State. Once a state comes into being,
its government may change from time to time. If the change of government takes
place in ordinary Political life, the existing states are not required to
recognize the new government. But sometimes , the Change of a government takes
place as a result of a revolution. In such a case, it becomes necessary to
ascertain that whether this new revolutionary government is:
- Capable of having Sufficient Control over the People of the territory or
- Willing to maintain international responsibilities and duties or not.
The recognition of new regime means that the existing States are satisfied that
the new government has a capacity to control and is willing to perform
International duties and Obligations. The Recognition may be either defacto or
dejure. The intention may be expressed either by sending a message to the
authority of the new government or to declare the same in a Public Statement.
Non-recognition of government doesn’t affect the recognition of a State. A state
remains recognized the only consequence of the non-recognition of the new
revolutionary government is the Suspension of the bilateral relations between
the existing State and the new government. The Consequences of the recognition
of a new government means to keep the relations in the same manner as were with
the Previous government.
Recognition Of Insurgency
Belligerency is the treatment to Consider a civil war as a real war between two
rival Powers by other existing States. The recognition by the existing States of
the rebels in case of civil war in a belligerent State is said to be recognition
When a State goes in a State of belligerency where the rebels have a
Considerable Control over a Substantial territory of nation, the rebels may be
recognized by the existing State. Such recognition is said to be recognition of
There are certain conditions that are to be followed by the movement of rebels
to be recognized by other States:
- That the movement shall be of a general Character.
- That rebels shall have in Possession a Substantial part of the national
- That they are giving respect and bind themselves for the warfare laws
and other international duties.
- That they have a proper force.
If the above conditions have been fulfilled by rebels, then they may be
recognized by the other existing States, and shall enjoy the international
Recognition Of Belligerency
The recognition by existing states, the defacto authority over a large territory
of the rebels is said to be Insurgency. In case of insurgency the rebels or the
insurgents occupy a large part of the national territory which was formerly
governed by the parent government. And if they are capable to control over that
occupied part, then the existing states may recognize it.
Prior to recognize the insurgency, it is necessary for the recognizing state to
Satisfy the following Conditions:
- Firstly, When insurgents Occupies a considerable Parent State’s
- Secondly, They have a Support from the majority of the Citizens of the
- Thirdly , they are acting under a Proper Command.
- Fourthly, they have good control over the Occupied territory.
When in case of an insurgency , the above requirements have been complied with
then , it is on the discretion of the existing State whether to recognize or
The recognition of an insurgency is the first step towards the diplomatic
relations with their government. But if the insurgency did not Succeed in their
attempt after recognition by the any existing State, the recognition shall be
deemed to have been extinguished.
Although recognition may legitimately be regarded as a political tool, it is one
that nevertheless entails important Consequences in the legal field. The legal
effects that often flows as a result of recognition or non-recognition of an
entity, both in the international sphere and within the municipal law of
particular State. When a state acquires recognition, it gains certain rights,
obligations and Immunities such as. It acquires the capacity to enter into
diplomatic relations with other states. It acquires the capacity to enter into
treaties with other States.
- Malcolm N Shaw Q.C – International law 6th edition
- H O Agarwal – A concise book on International law and Human Rights
5th edition August 2018,Central law Publications.
- Dr. S.K. Kapoor – International law and Human Rights 2017 , Central law
- Mayank Madhaw –Public International law and Human Rights (Law of Peace), 2018.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.A.Jonah Elisa Shiny
Authentication No: MA108909432209-30-0321