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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Uti possidetis Doctrine

Giuseppe Nesi

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 August 2022

Self-determination — Foreign relations law — Sovereignty — Settlement of disputes — Boundaries — Territory, acquisition and transfer

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1The expression uti possidetis originates in Roman law, where it indicated an interdict by the praetor aimed at prohibiting any interference with the possession of immovable property acquired nec vi, nec clam, nec praecario (not by force, nor stealth, nor license). The purpose of uti possidetis was to temporarily assign a favourable position in the ownership action to the individual who possessed that property. 2In the context of the international law of war, uti possidetis initially (in the 17th century) described the situation on the ground after an armed...
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