International Law and Boundary Disputes in Africa: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

International Law and Boundary Disputes in Africa

1st Edition

By Gbenga Oduntan


410 pages

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Africa has experienced a number of territorial disputes over land and maritime boundaries, due in part to its colonial and post-colonial history. This book explores the legal, political, and historical nature of disputes over territory in the African continent, and critiques the content and application of contemporary International law to the resolution of African territorial and border disputes.

Drawing on central concepts of public international law such as sovereignty and jurisdiction, and socio-political concepts such as colonialism, ethnicity, nationality and self-determination, this book interrogates the intimate connection that peoples and nations have to territory and the severe disputes these may lead to. Gbenga Oduntan identifies the major principles of law at play in relation to territorial, and boundary disputes, and argues that the predominant use of foreign based adjudicatory mechanisms in attempting to deal with African boundary disputes alienates those institutions and mechanisms from African people and can contribute to the recurrence of conflicts and disputes in and among African territories. He suggests that the understanding and application of multidisciplinary dispute resolution mechanisms and strategies can allow for a more holistic and effective treatment of boundary disputes.

As an in depth study into the legal, socio-political and anthropological mechanisms involved in the understanding of territorial boundaries, and a unique synthesis of an African jurisprudence of international boundaries law, this book will be of great use and interest to students, researchers, and practitioners in African and Public International Law, International Relations, and decision-makers in need of better understanding the settlement of disputes over territorial boundaries in both Africa and the wider world.


'All in all, Oduntan's work can be considered as an original and progressive contribution to international law and politics. It sets ambitious challenges, but first and foremost hopeful perspectives for the future of resolving boundary disputes on the African continent.'

Mieke van der Linden, Heidelberg

Table of Contents

1. Sovereignty Jurisdiction and Control over National Territory 2. Manifestation of Boundary Disputes in East Africa 3. Manifestation of Boundary Disputes in West Africa 4. Manifestation of Boundary Disputes in North Africa 5. Manifestation of Boundary Disputes in Southern Africa 6. Manifestations of Boundary Disputes in Central Africa 7. The African Union and the Settlement of African Boundary Disputes 8. Jurisprudence of the ICJ in Relation to African Boundary disputes 9. Reevaluation of the Uti Possidetis Principle in light of the African Experience 10. Multi-tracking and Indigenizing Settlement of Boundary Disputes in Africa 11. Alternative Futures: Innovative Methods to avoid Zero sum Positions

About the Author

Gbenga Oduntan is Senior Lecturer in International Commercial Law at the University of Kent, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Research in International Law

The series offers a space for new and emerging scholars of international law to publish original arguments, as well as presenting alternative perspectives from more established names in international legal research.  Works cover both the theory and practice of international law, presenting innovative analyses of the nature and state of international law itself as well as more specific studies within particular disciplines. The series will explore topics such as the changes to the international legal order, the processes of law-making and law-enforcement, as well as the range of actors in public international law. The books will take a variety of different methodological approaches to the subject including interdisciplinary, critical legal studies, feminist, and Third World approaches, as well as the sociology of international law. Looking at the past, present and future of international law the series reflects the current vitality and diversity of international legal scholarship.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Treaties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries