Nov 18, 2008

The Legal Aspects of Wirtland

A new section "Legal Aspects" with questions and answers about legitimacy of Wirtland has been recently added to Wirtland's website. You can also read the text below.
You are welcome to post your opinion here, or in the special discussion forum at:
. Questions & opinions are welcome.

Why is UN recognition not required?
Recognition by United Nations Organization or by other states is important for every sovereign country, but it is not a necessary prerequisite for its existence. The Article 3 of Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (which is considered as major part of customary international law), states:
“The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states.” [1]

Why Wirtland considers itself sovereign?
According to the above-mentioned Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, to have sovereignty, a state must have a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and it must have the capacity to enter into diplomatic relations (Article 1).
Wirtland meets three out of four of these criteria. It has permanent citizens, who receive passports and may register any legal act with the Wirtland’s authority. Wirtland has government and may engage into relations with other entities. The only basic difference between Wirtland and a traditional state is absence of a defined territory. However, many of so-called self-proclaimed states, which meet all four of the Montevideo Convention’s conditions, still are not considered sovereign subjects of international law. This makes the Montevideo Conv
ention’s requirements questionable, and strengthens the position of such states and their right of sovereignty.
The fast development of global communication and especially Internet leads to considerable changes in the present understanding of sovereignty. The today’s international lawyers specifically emphasize this tendency, doubting the Montevideo Convention’s set of criteria. In his paper “The Acquisition of Sovereignty by Quasi-States” professor Noel Cox points out: “Yet, this [Montevideo Convention’s] definition is increasingly meaningless. The notions of sovereignty and statehood are not easily defined or explained…. With the growth in both the (horizontal) extent and (vertical) reach of international agreements, treaties, conventions and codes, national independence is becoming less relevant. This tendency is becoming more noticeable in the modern commercial environment, and especially the internet”.[2]

Absence of its own land: an advantage?
As the traditional self-proclaimed state typically forms by way of separation from another state, the territorial question is always the main source of dispute. Wirtland’s sovereignty is not based on any kind of separatism. It does not claim any land, which belongs to other entity, therefore there is no intrinsic conflict in the Wirtland’s concept of sovereignty. Therefore, we see absence of own land rather as an advantage. It allows for unclouded relations between Wirtland and other nations of the world.

Are there any similar cases, precedents in international law?
Yes. Order of Malta is widely recognized as a sovereign entity, though it has no sovereig
n territory. Order of Malta has diplomatic relations with 101 states, and its claimed sovereignty is also expressed in the issuance of passports, license plates, stamps, and coins. [3]

The political existence of Wirtland is completely legal. Though political existence of Wirtland does not depend on recognition of other states, it welcomes all the efforts towards building peaceful relations with all the world’s states and international organizations. Wirtland encourages other states to treat the documents issued by Wirtland, including passports, as regular genuine documents.

[1] See
[2] Noel Cox, Auckland University of Technology, “The Acquisition of Sovereignty by Quasi-States: The case of the Order of Malta”, first published (2002) 6(1&2) Mountbatten Journal of Legal Studies, 26-47
[3] See

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