عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: The interaction between the principle of the right to self-determination and the immunity of countries' territorial integrity as two fundamental rules in contemporary international law has always been emphasized in the legal order arising from the United Nations Charter. Therefore, the right to self-determination is defined in the framework of the prohibition of territorial occupation and decolonization, so as not to conflict with the territorial integrity of states. In the post-colonial era, the internal aspect of the right to self-determination in the sense of equal political participation and preservation of cultural rights and freedoms has been recognized internationally, on the other hand, the illegitimacy of any separatism has been repeatedly emphasized. Despite this, the theory of secession as a solution has become a document for separatist groups and some countries to claim the existence of secessionist rights in exceptional circumstances. For example, the separatists of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, citing this theory, declared the independence of these regions by issuing a statement in 2008 after holding a referendum, and the Russian government immediately recognized the independence of these regions.
Research Question: The main question of this article is whether the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia has legal legitimacy or not?
Research Hypothesis: The hypothesis of the research is based on the premise that this separation has no legal legitimacy and the problem of South Ossetia and Abkhazia can be analyzed by establishing a kind of interaction and balance between the two principles of the right to self-determination and the immunity of the territorial integrity of the states.
Methodology: The current research method is qualitative based on content analysis with a descriptive-analytical approach and it was carried out by using library and internet sources including international and national documents, opinions, judgments, reports, books and articles.
Results and Discussion: According to the findings of this research, due to the importance of the principle of territorial integrity and the lack of preconditions such as the occurrence of genocide and resorting to this concept as a last resort, the legal conditions for resorting to reformed separation have not been met. Having the specific language, culture, customs and myths of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have introduced them as a special people with a distinct identity both in terms of objective and mental characteristics, they can be considered a special demographic group. Although the people in the sense given in the United Nations Charter refers to the inhabitants of a country or a colonial land under a guardianship, but perhaps they can be regarded as the people and therefore entitled to benefit from the right to self-determination, but in this framework, they have the internal aspect of the right to self-determination and not the external one. Of course, the only hypothesis that exists in relation to the external aspect of the right to self-determination outside the colonial framework and under trust is the theory of reformed separation which has seriously been questioned as a rule of international law. But assuming that we make separation as a criterion, this issue cannot be considered as an example of separation as a solution regardless of the fact that reformed separation is associated with genocide more than any other fundamental human rights violation. But if we want to have a broader interpretation of the reformed separation inspired by the decision of the Canadian court in the case of Quebec, in cases where people have been oppressed and deprived of participation in the administration of affairs, it should be applied and certainly separation should be the last resort. Therefore, the Georgian government and the representatives of the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia should conduct negotiations in good faith and it should respect the right to political participation and guarantee their economic, social, cultural development and internal autonomy.
Conclusion: It can be said that Ossetians and Abkhazians enjoy the right to internal self-determination, but all the prerequisites and grounds for their benefit from the external aspect of the right to self-determination have not been provided and therefore, the declaration of independence of these territories cannot be considered in accordance with the principle of the right to self-determination. Their separation from Georgia was done illegally and as a result of Russia resorting to illegitimate force against Georgia. The Russian government prepared the ground for this separation by military action and campaigning in Georgia and expelling Georgians and by violating the rules of international law regarding the prohibition of resorting to force and non-interference in the internal affairs of governments, which is a violation of the rules of international law. Granting Russian passports to the residents of these two regions and Russia's effective control over the security and administrative institutions of these regions has practically meant their annexation to Russia. From the point of view of neutral observers, these regions have become Russian states instead of an independent country and lack the necessary criteria to be a state, so what happened here was an act of occupation and annexation similar to what happened in the Northern Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh lacks legitimacy and is not compatible with the principle of the right to self-determination.
It seems that the best way to solve this problem is to recognize the right of internal self-determination of the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia within the framework of the country of Georgia. Therefore, the two mentioned regions can be autonomous and maintain their identity.