AUA Hosts Lecture on Unilateral Declarations of Independence in the South Caucasus

International Law Professor William Slomanson is Special Guest Speaker

Yerevan, Armenia – American University of Armenia’s College of Law recently hosted a talk by Professor William Slomanson of Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) in San Diego, California, USA.  Prof. Slomanson is a highly-regarded scholar of international law, whose Fundamental Perspectives on International Law is a classic textbook in the field.

Professor Slomanson presented an overview of the doctrine of remedial secession with special reference to Nagorno-Karabagh.   He was accompanied by his colleague, TJSL Prof. Chris Guzelian, who helped arrange the lecture at AUA, and his assistant Mike Pehlevanian, a 3rd year student at TJSL.

The well-attended lecture outlined the history of unilateral declarations of independence, relying on the Canadian Supreme Court case on Quebec’s bid for secession from Canada, the International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo and the ECHR ruling on the Russian Federation and Georgia.   A lively discussion ensued on how the three elements of this doctrine apply to Nagorno-Karabagh, with the conclusion that a strong case can be made for remedial secession as an appropriate remedy in this case, on the grounds that (1) NK has a defined people, (2) who were subjected to gross violations of human rights by the state from which it has declared independence, for which (3) nothing less than secession would be a sufficient remedy.


The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia.  Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California.  Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality, graduate and undergraduate education, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.

The American University of Armenia is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001.