Conor Mulcahy

Document Type



A common debate among legal scholars focuses on the extent to which the international legal principle of self-determination remains relevant in the post-colonial period. Even those commentators who consider it still to be a significant, active concept in public international law disagree over its actual content. While many suggest that peoples entitled to the right of self-determination have a right to secede and form their own state, scholars disagree as to the circumstances under which the right develops. This Note examines the current status of the law of self-determination in the particular context of Chechnya. It describes how, though the law of self-determination would not allow Chechnya to secede from Russia unilaterally, Russian abuses associatied with the March 23, 2003 constitutional referendum in Chechnya violated Chechnya’s right to internal self-determination. Thus, the constitution is void under international law.