|I.||Substantive International Law - First Part|
|4.||SUBJECTS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW|
|4.2.5.||Fundamental Rights and Obligations|
East Timor (Portugal v. Australia),
Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1995, p. 90
"Administering Powers are independent States which keep their attributes as such when they act on the international scene in relation to the non-self-governing territories for whose administration they are responsible." (Ibid.).
It is submitted that these "attributes" are nothing more than sovereignty, the exercise of which has been restricted in favour of the self-determination of the people concerned. Portugal stresses that the people of the Territory is "the holder of the sovereignty inherent in the capacity to decide for itself its future international legal status" (CR 95/4, p. l3, para. 6, idem) and that "the international law of decolonization has transferred the sovereignty relating to such territories to their own peoples" (CR 95/12, p. 44, para. 3, idem). Under international law these contentions must be understood as referring to self-determination: it is the people which decides on its implementation; but "people" as the holder of "sovereignty" is a concept which, at least in part, lies beyond the realm of law.