Fragile and Failed States

Carlos Jiménez Piernas

The international system today faces the increasing phenomenon of vulnerable States, which has generated an important amount of documents and bibliography within many of the Social Sciences. However, it lacks of an interdisciplinary approach based on International Relations and International Law. This articles aims to check to what extent this phenomenon has a universal impact, regardless of the material peculiarities that might exist in the various regional subsystems. We also carry out a rigorous and comprehensive analysis of the situations in place, thanks to the integration of legal criteria both in its description and definition. In particular, the official sources of the institutional structure of the international order will be indispensable in obtaining direct information of good quality. A very simple typology is proposed, which considers two ideal types: the fragile and the failed States, providing details on their similarities and differences, but also about their causes and characteristics. From the perspective of International Law, the key element to define a failed State is its incapacity to comply with its obligations, internally (ad intra) and, above all, internationally (ad extra). But the international system does not consider the possibility of the extinction of any State in cases of extreme failure. So far, the international order has watched over and protected these States without even raising the issue of their identity and continuity as subjects of International Law, thus securing their sovereignty and territorial integrity through the unrestricted implementation of the structural principles of International Law. This practice shows a clear will in this regard and, despite the legal virtuality of a failed State, dogmatic and formal doubts cannot but be rebuffed.

1. LOS ESTADOS VULNERABLES: UN FENÓMENO UNIVERSAL QUE EXIGE UNA APROXIMACIÓN INTERDISCIPLINAR.—2. UNA PROPUESTA DE TIPOLOGÍA.— 2.1. La distinción entre Estados débiles y fracasados.—2.2. Causas y caracteres de las situaciones de debilidad y fracaso del Estado.—2.3. La crisis del Estado en África: práctica reciente.—3. EL CONCEPTO DE ESTADO FRACASADO A LA LUZ DEL DERECHO INTERNACIONAL.— 3.1. El elemento constitutivo del poder político en el concepto de Estado.— 3.2. El estatuto jurídico del Estado fracasado.—4. CONCLUSIONES.

REDI Vol. LXV 2 2013



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