Legal Criteria of Statehood

The legal criteria of statehood, commonly known as the Montevideo criteria, are the widely recognised principles used to determine whether an entity qualifies as a state under international law. These criteria are derived from the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, adopted in 1933. According to the convention, a state should possess the following four elements:

Defined territory: A state must have a clearly defined territory over which it exercises effective control. This territory can include land, water, and airspace. The boundaries of the territory should be recognisable and agreed upon by other states or the international community.

Permanent population: A state must have a permanent population composed of individuals who reside within its territory on an ongoing basis. The presence of a stable population is essential for a state's social and political functioning.

Government: A state must have a functioning government capable of maintaining law and order, providing public services, and representing the interests of its population. The government should exercise effective control over the territory and its population.

Capacity to enter into relations with other states: A state must possess the capacity to engage in diplomatic relations and interact with other states. It should be able to negotiate treaties, establish diplomatic missions, and enter into agreements with other states. This criterion reflects the state's ability to act as a legal and political entity in the international community.

Recognition by other states is not a formal requirement for statehood. However, recognition by other states is often considered a significant factor in determining the status of an entity as a state. The recognition of statehood is a political act and can vary depending on the perspectives and interests of different states.
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