chapter  4
34 Pages

Violent Secessions: Biafra, Bangladesh, Chechnya

This chapter concerns the legality of secession. The right of secession pursuant to the domestic constitutional law of a state is one that has rarely arisen in case law. In analyzing domestic constitutional law and the right of secession we shall examine the cases of the United States of America, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and Canada. The recognition of revolution by Chase CJ was not novel, the United States of America, itself had arisen as the result of revolution. Chase CJ's comment here echoed that of many legal scholars and politicians of his time, including Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln, arguably the two most famous unionists and anti-secessionists of that time. Canada represents the most recent case of judicial analysis of the right of secession from the perspective of a state's constitutional law. Unlike the United States and Canada, SFRY's Constitution of 1974 contained an explicit reference to the right of secession, albeit in its Preamble.