Dagelijks archief: december 1, 2016

Puppet states and human rights abuses: a quest for accountability

puppetOn 30 November 2016, I served as a member of the reading committee at Sciences Po in Paris which conferred a PhD in law on Bogdan Ivanel for his work on puppet states. Mr Ivanel rightly draws attention to the serious accountability problems confronting the current phenomenon of puppet states. Puppet states are secessionist entities located on the territory of one state (the ‘mother state’) but are more or less controlled by another state (the ‘sponsor state’). While the puppet typically has its own governmental institutions and largely functions as a de facto state, it is not normally recognized by the international community. In fact, it can be considered as an extension of the sponsor state, which may occupy the puppet’s territorial base. Most puppet states have been established on the territory of the former Soviet Union, e.g., Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Eastern Ukraine. Given the current geopolitical stalemate, these entities are not going away any time soon. Thus, it makes sense to take them seriously, or at least to open the debate regarding their accountability towards the citizens they ‘govern’. Accountability for human rights abuses committed on the puppet’s territory, should be realized through a combination of holding the sponsor state, the mother state, and the puppet state itself responsible.
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