Document Type : Article


Prof. Department of Law, Faculty of Humanities, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran



In the current international system, several entities both possess elements of the state and also effectively exercise sovereignty over a territory but have not been recognized by the international community as states. This article introduces these states and examines their legal status. The main questions of this article are:  what are the specific examples of de facto states in the present international community? What are the reasons for the legitimacy of these entities from their own point of view?  Why the international community has so far refused to accept and recognize them? The author hypothesizes that there are cur rently seven de facto states .The reason for the lack of recognition of many of these states is that their establishment is seen as violation of the rule against the use of force. In some cases, fears of the domino effect of separatism or political considerations about the important position of the mother state on the world stage have prevented recognition of these states. We will study this issue on the basis of analytical-descriptive method and using library resources.


  1. English

    1. A) Books
    2. Bahcheli, Tozun (2004), " Under Turkey’s wings: The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the struggle for international acceptance", in: Tozun Bahcheli, Barry Bartmann and Henry Srebrnik (eds.), De Facto States: The quest for sovereignty, Routledge, pp.164-186.
    3. Brownlie Ian (1998), Principles of Public International law, Oxford University Press, fifth Edition.
    4. Conforti, Benedetto & Focarelli, Carlo (2016), The Law and Practice of the United Nations, Fifth Revised Edition, Edited by Niels Blokker Leiden; Boston: Brill Nijhoff.
    5. Crawford, James (2006), the Creation of States in International Law, Cambridge University Press.
    6. Dugard, John & David Raiˇc (2006), “The Role of Recognition in the Law and Practice of Secession”, in: Marcelo G. Kohen (eds.), Secession: International Law Perspectives, Cambridge University Press.pp.94-137.
    7. Fabry, Mikulas (2010), Recognizing States: International Society and the Establishment of New States since 1776, Oxford University Press.
    8. Kreijen, Gerard (2004), State Failure, Sovereignty and Effectiveness: Legal Lessons from the Decolonization of Sub-Saharan Africa, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
    9. Mihalkanin, Edward (2004), " The Abkhazians: A national minority in their own homeland", in: Tozun Bahcheli, Barry Bartmann and Henry Srebrnik (eds.), De Facto States: The quest for sovereignty, Routledge, pp.143-163.
    10. Potier, Tim (2000), History of the Conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia", Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia: A Legal Appraisal, The Hague/ Boston: Kluwer Law International.
    11. Raic, David (2002), Statehood and the Law of Self- Determination, The Hague (The Netherlands), Kluwer Law International.
    12. Roper, D. Steven (2004), " From frozen conflict to frozen agreement: The unrecognized state of Transnistria", in: Tozun Bahcheli, Barry Bartmann and Henry Srebrnik (eds.), De Facto States: The quest for sovereignty, Routledge, pp.102-117.


    1. B) Articles
    2. Arieff , Alexis (2008), "De Facto Statehood? The Strange Case of Somaliland", Yale Journal of International Affairs, Vol.3, No.2, pp.60-79.
    3. Chan, C. W. Phil (2009), "The Legal Status of Taiwan and the Legality of the Use of Force in a Cross-Taiwan Strait Conflict", Chinese Journal of International Law, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 455–492.
    4. Eggers, K. Alison (2007), "When is a State a State? The Case for the Recognition of Somaliland", Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, Vol.30, Issue 1, pp.211-222.
    5. Grzybowski, Janis (2017), " To Be or Not to Be: The Ontological Predicament of State Creation in International Law", European Journal of International Law, Vol. 28, Issue 2, pp. 409–432.
    6. Kreuter, Aaron (2010), "Self-Determination, Sovereignty, and the Failure of States: Somaliland and the Case for Justified Secession", Minnesota Journal of International Law, Vol. 19, No.2, pp.363-397.
    7. Lalos, Dimitrios (2011), " Between Statehood and Somalia: Reflections of Somaliland Statehood", Washington University Global Studies Law Review,Vol.10, Issue 4, pp.789-812.
    8. Milena, Sterio (2011), "A Grotian Moment: Changes in the Legal Theory of Statehood", Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 39, Issue 2, pp. 209-238.
    9. Okeowo, Demola (2008), “Statehood, Effectiveness and the Kosovo Declaration of Independence”, available at:
    10. Weller, marc (1992), "The International Response to the Dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", American Journal of International Law, Vol.86, Issue 3,pp.569.607.


    1. C) Other Documents and cases
    2. ICJ Advisory Opinion, Accordance with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo, 22 July 2010
    3. ILC Ybk 1956/II, 107.
    4. ILAŞCU AND OTHERS v. Moldova and Russia Judgment, 2004.
    5. International Law Commission Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, 2001.


    References in Persian:

    1. A) Books
    2. Shaheydar, Abdolkarim & Moaiedian, Amineh (2015), Legal Status of Self-Proclaimed States: from the International Law Perspective,Tehran: Majdlaw (In Persian).
    3. Ziaei Bigdeli, Mohammad Reza (2019), Public International Law, Tehran: Ganj-e-Danesh, 65th edition (In Persian).


    1. B) Articles
    2. Azizi, Sattar (2010), "The Legal reasons and Position of Russia in recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Non- recognition of Kosovo", International Law Review, Vol. 42, Spring-Summer, pp.65-87 (In Persian).
    3. Ranjbarian Amir Hossein & Farahzad, Mahsa (2015), "The evolution of state formation criteria: from effectiveness to legitimacy?", Public Law Studies Quarterly, Vol.45, Issue:2, pp.255-272. Doi: 10.22059/jplsq.2015.54822 (In Persian).
    4. Zamani, S.Ghasem (2015), " The Legal Nature of DAESH in International Law: State or Non-State Actor?", State Studies, Vol.1, Issue 1, pp.113-131. (In Persian).


    1. C) Thesis
    2. Hashi Abdurrahman, Sadia (2018), The right to self-determination of the people of Somaliland, Master's thesis in international law, Allameh Tabatabaei University (In Persian).