STATING THE OBVIOUS? How do International Law theories on State and Belligerency recognition characterise the Islamic State?

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The Islamic State has been described as one of the worst terrorist organisations in moderntimes. The United Nations Security Council has also put ISIS on the same terrorist resolutionas al-Qaeda. At the same time, the Islamic State has, in comparison to other terrorist organisations, demonstrated state-like functions in the territories of Syria and Iraq even if no state has recognised it as such. This thesis examines whether and how the existing international law theories on recognition characterises the Islamic State. Through the methodology of congruence analysis the thesis formulate frameworks of the declaratory theory, the constitutive theory and the belligerency theory. These frameworks are applied, through a single case study, on the crucial case of the Islamic State. The result indicates that the constitutive theory cannot characterise ISIS as a state while the belligerency theory is not applicable in this case. The declaratory framework characterise ISIS as a state but cannot explain why it has not been recognised. This thesis can conclude that the dominant legal theory of declaratory recognition is surpassed by the policy driven constitutive theory.

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