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World Court Digest

I. Substantive International Law - First Part
4.2. States
4.2.6. Succession of States

¤ Frontier Dispute, Judgment
(Burkina Faso/Republic of Mali)
I.C.J. Reports 1986, p. 554

[p. 566] The territorial boundaries which have to be respected may also derive from international frontiers which previously divided a colony of one State from a colony of another, or indeed a colonial territory from the territory of an independent State, or one which was under protectorate, but had retained its international personality. There is no doubt that the obligation to respect pre-existing international frontiers in the event of a State succession derives from a general rule of international law, whether or not the rule is expressed in the formula uti possidetis. Hence the numerous solemn affirmations of the intangibility of the frontiers existing at the time of the independence of African States, whether made by senior African statesmen or by organs of the Organization of African Unity itself are evidently declaratory rather than constitutive: they recognize and confirm an existing principle; and do not seek to consecrate a new principle or the extension to Africa of a rule previously applied only in another continent.