View Full Version : What are modes of acquisition and loss of territory under international law. (1997)

09-07-2012, 12:20 AM
Q. Explain the various methods of acquisition of territory in international law. (2005)
Q. Explain the various methods of acquisition of territory in international law. (2006/S)
1. Introduction:
The state has four essentials namely population territory, government and sovereignty. territory is one of the four elements which a state in order to be an international person must possess. the state must have a fixed territory the territory of the state includes not only land within its jurisdiction, but also the natural resources. Lakes, rivers and the mariginal sea. the air space above the land is also part of the territory. the state jurisdiction is exercised by the state over persons and property within a particular territory.
2. Definition:
"State territory is that definite portion of the surface of the globe which is subjected to the sovereignty of the state."
3. Modes of acquiring territory:
Following are modes of acquiring territory.
(i) Occupation:
Occupation in international law means an act of appropriation by a state over a territory which does not belong to any other state.
Stark's views:
"In order to see whether a state has occupation over a particular territory it is see whether there is effective occupation of that state over the territory concerned."
(a) Essentials elements for effective occupation:
There are two essential elements that constitute an effective occupation of that state over another territory.
(i) Direct evidence of possession.
(ii) An exhibition of actual authority.
(b) Case law:
U. S. A vs Netherland 1929:
For acquiring sovereign over a particular territory effective occupation is necessary.
(ii) Prescription:
If a state exercises control over a territory continuously for a long time without any interruption and possess it defacto, the concerned territory becomes part of that state. this mode is known as prescription international law does not fix any certain time so as to a title by prescription. however length time required for prescription is a matter which should be decided by international court of justice or tribunal where the case is brought for adjudication.
(i) Conditions:
A state may acquire some territory by prescription only when the following conditions are fulfilled.
(i) Where occupying state has not accepted the sovereignty of any other state over the said territory.
(ii) Possession should be peaceful.
(iii) There should be no interruption.
(iv) Possession should be for a definite period not less than 20 years.
(iii) Accretion:
When a new territory is added, mainly through natural causes to existing territory, that is already under sovereign of acquiring state.
(i) Forms of Accretion:
(i) Artificial.
(ii) Natural.
(iv) Cession:
Cession is the transfer of sovereign over a definite territory by one state to another state.
(i) Forms of Cession:
(i) Voluntary.
(ii) Under compulsion.
(v) Annexation:
It is the acquisition of the territory of an enemy through the military force in time of war.
U. S Charter on Annexation:
This mode has been greatly affected by UN charter by Art. 2(4) under which member state cannot acquire territories by annexation.
(vi) Lease:
A state may give territory to another state under lease for a certain period.
(vii) Pledge:
Pledge in also a mode of acquiring state territory. under some circumstances a state is compelled to pledged of part of it territory in return of certain amount of money.
(viii) Adjudication:
Adjudication is also mode of acquiring territory. it occurs where a conference of the victorious powers at the end of a war assigns territory to a particular state for the sake of settlement of peace.
4. Modes of losing territory:
(i) Cession:
the acquisition of territory by one state is loss to the other. the act of cession may be in the nature of gift, sale, exchange or lease.
(ii) Operation of nature:
A state may lose territory by operation of nature for e. g. by earthquake, a coast of the sea a Island may altogether disappear.
(iii) Subjugation:
As a state may acquire territory through annexation, the other state may lose it through subjugation.
(v) Revolt:
When a new state takes birth in consequences of revolution or revolt it would be lost of territory by revolt.
(vi) Renunciation:
Renunciation is a mode of losing territory by renunciation. it is the very opposite of the occupation which requires both possession and intention.
(vii) Independence to a Colony:
Granting of independence to a colony is also a mode of losing imperialist state grants independence to the areas under its control.
Kinds of cession:
(i) Valid:
Any act which indicates an intention to transfer sovereignty is sufficient.
(ii) Voluntary:
The act of cession may be voluntary or under compulsion as a result of war.
5. Conclusion:
To conclude it can be said that territory is an important element for state. the occupation, accretion, cession, prescription are modes of acquiring territory by the state. the concept of territorial sovereignty signifies the fact that within a particular territory jurisdiction is exercises by the state. the state territory may also be lost in different ways.