“Status neutrality” of international organizations: A mission impossible with regard to self-proclaimed separatist entities

Antal Berkes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Status-neutrality is a specific case of impartiality, where international organizations take a neutral position on the status of a self-proclaimed separatist entity. The reasons for choosing a status-neutral policy are the States’ discretionary power to decide on State recognition, the member States’ lack consensus about the final status of the territorial entity and the international organizations’ mandate to achieve practical solutions in the dispute settlement. The normative content of the term, namely the obligations with regard to impartiality are the negative duty not to recognize the statehood of the territorial entity or to make pronouncements on its current or future status, and, positively, the obligations to achieve pragmatic solutions, to assist the implementation of standards in the given region and to seek for the consent of both parties. However, even if international organizations comply with the normative content of status-neutrality, they face various accusations of partiality. As the precedents mainly related to Kosovo show, direct contacts with self-proclaimed authorities, the aid and assistance provided for the entity and the silence of the international organizations with regards to unilateral acts of the self-proclaimed authorities are a priori conform to international law. Nevertheless, the impartial conduct of international organizations cannot prevent the factual consequences they have on the stabilization of self-proclaimed separatist entities.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
Publication statusIn preparation - 2017
Event2017 European Society of International Law Research Forum: The Neutrality of International Law: Myth or Reality? - Granada, Spain, Granada, Spain
Duration: 30 Mar 201731 Mar 2017


Conference2017 European Society of International Law Research Forum
Internet address


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