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Frontier Dispute Case (Burkina Faso/Mali)

International Court of Justice
1986 I.C.J. 554


Burkina Faso (previously the Republic of Upper Volta) and the Republic of Mali each obtained independence in 1960 following decolonization. Later, the Organization of African Unity, comprised of African Heads of State, was formed. In 1964, the Organization of African Unity met in Cairo, Egypt and issued a resolution declaring that all member States of the Organization of African Unity “solemnly…pledge themselves to respect the frontiers existing on their achievement of national independence.” This resolution codified into law the age-old international principle of uti possidetis. In 1975, the Head of State of Mali made a statement indicating a lack of respect for the existing boundaries between Mali and Burkina Faso. Mali and Burkina Faso later submitted to a Chamber of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) the question of the proper demarcation of boundary lines between the two States. In considering the case, the ICJ discussed the principle of uti possidetis.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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