Petition to resolve a border dispute.
Burkina Faso and Mali submitted a question to the International Court of Justice regarding a border dispute.
Does there exist an obligation to respect preexisting international frontiers in the event of a state succession?
-There exists an obligation to respect pre-existing international frontiers in the event of a succession.
-The principle of uti possidetis developed with respect to the Spanish American colonies. In a similar dispute between El Salvador and Honduras, the Court described the principle as follows: “The general principle offered the advantage of establishing an absolute rule that there was not in law in the old Spanish America any terra nullius; while there might exist many regions that had never been occupied by the Spaniards … the regions were reputed to belonging in law to whichever of the republics succeeded to the Spanish province to which these territories attached by virtue of the old Royal ordinances of the Spanish mother country.”
-There exists an obligation to respect pre-existing international frontiers in the event of a state succession, whether or not the rule is expressed in the form of uti possidetis. Thus, the numerous declarations of the intangibility of the frontiers at the time of the declaration of independence of the African states are declaratory. The fact that the principle did not exist when the states declared such independence in 1960 does not foreclose its present application.