The principle of self-determination, like other principles of international law, has been the focus of considerable disagreement between researchers and politicians on its meaning and application forms, although, many international instruments have attempted to formulate definitions generally accepted by various States.
Although, the principle of self-determination has obtained a broad internationally consensus, many international instruments stated certain restrictions and conditions on its implementation, including being consistent with other international principles contained in the UN Charter or approved by the international community.
The internal dimension of the concept of self-determination is one its most important developments in recent decades. This dimension (known as the internal or democratic self-determination) aims at expanding the scope for public participation in managing public affairs. Today, the autonomy status and the regional system are among the most important aspects of the internal self-determination.
The article deals with the concept of self-determination through studying its development on two tracks: legal/theoretical and practical. At the theoretical level, the definition of the principle has been a subject of disagreement among researchers. On the other hand, international instruments had failed in providing a specific and agreed definition. At the practical level, the experience has shown that the implementation of self-determination has taken many different forms according to different characteristics of each people.
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