Global Encyclopedia of Territorial Rights

Living Edition
| Editors: Michael Kocsis

Decolonization and Boundary Disputes in West Africa

Living reference work entry



Decolonization and Boundary Disputes in West Africa refers to three cases decided by the International Court of Justice that determined the location of sections of the international borders between four countries in north-west Africa. The first decision was rendered in 1986 in a case between Burkina Faso and the Republic of Mali; the second decision was rendered in 2005 in a case between Benin and Niger; the third decision was rendered in 2013 in a case between Burkina Faso and Niger. Each case bears the title “Frontier Dispute”; the first two were heard by Special Chambers pursuant to special agreements between parties, while the third was heard by the full Court.

In addition to resolving the boundary disputes between the countries, the decisions are notable for four features. First, their application of the uti possidetis jurisprinciple, which prescribes respect for territorial borders at the moment when independence is achieved. The cases...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of the PresidentKororRepublic of Palau

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin W. Gray
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada