|II. ||Substantive International Law - Second Part|
|1. ||TERRITORY OF STATES|
|1.1. ||Acquisition and Loss|
Application of the Convention
on the Prevention and Punishment
of the Crime of Genocide,
Order of 13 September 1993,
I.C.J. Reports 1993, p. 325
[pp. 434-435 S.O. Lauterpacht] 81. It is beyond question that
territory cannot lawfully be acquired by the aggressive use of force and that
such acquisition is in theory null and void unless and until ratified by consent
on the part of the State whose territory is thereby attenuated. This has been
repeatedly stated by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United
Nations, including on occasion specific reference to the conflict in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, and there is no reason why the Court should not, albeit obiter,
restate and confirm this fundamental rule of international law.
82. But that opinion does not necessarily extend to cover "annexation
or incorporation of ... territory ... by any means or for any reason".
If "annexation" is defined as "forcible seizure followed by
unilateral assertion of title" then, of course, the request falls within
the prohibition of the use of force for the acquisition of territory. On the
other hand, if "annexation" is used in a more colloquial sense as
meaning the assumption of title over territory as a result of a negotiated
settlement, even one following aggression and hostilities, then it is not
possible to say that the original illegal conduct of the State acquiring the
territory taints permanently the transfer subsequently approved by the original
sovereign. A fortiori, the same is true of the expression "incorporation"
which, in normal usage, is a neutral expression not necessarily implying prior
forcible action on the part of the acquiring State.