The lack of clear criteria for statehood and for lawful secession
has encouraged the emergence of numerous secessionist movements
and thereby threatens the peace, stability and territorial integrity
of existing states, in Europe as elsewhere.
It should be noted that the notions of national sovereignty
and statehood have evolved in recent years.
A multilateral approach to the “responsibility to protect”
is taking the place of arbitrary unilateral interventions and bilateral
guarantees. Bilateral guarantees such as those in the context of
the independence of Cyprus have not prevented conflicts. European
integration and co-operation have led to a voluntary relinquishment
of certain aspects of national sovereignty.
Self-determination should first and foremost be implemented
by way of the protection of minority rights as foreseen in the Council
of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
All member states should therefore be invited to refrain from recognising
or supporting in any way the de facto authorities of
territories resulting from unlawful secessions, in particular those
supported by foreign military interventions. The criteria for statehood,
including those for the emergence of new states by legal secession,
and the modalities of the protection of national sovereignty and
territorial integrity of states should be examined thoroughly in
the framework of a follow-up conference to the International Commission
on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS).