The Recognition of Governments: International Law Bases and Limits in the Light of the Case of Venezuela
Helmut Philipp Aust
Reactions by the international community to the constitutional crisis in Venezuela have once again shed light on the problem of the recognition of governments in international law. This issue is an indicator for structural changes in the international legal order, which is in particular the case with respect to the balance between considerations of effectivity and legitimacy. This contribution analyses the international practice with respect to the recognition of governments in the case of Venezuela. It discusses its relation to the applicable international legal rules and sketches different movements in the history of the recognition of governments. The paper argues that the case of Venezuela stands for a legitimacy-oriented practice without underlying principles of legitimacy. At the same time, the case of Venezuela as well as other recent elements of international practice mark the return to recognition practices of the 19th century which were until recently deemed to be ghosts from the past.