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The Aaland Islands Question: Report Submitted to the Council of the League of Nations by the Commission of Rapporteurs

The International Committee of Jurists of the Council of the League of Nations
League of Nations Doc. B7/21/68/106 (1921)


Facts

The Aaland Islands (plaintiff), an archipelago located between Finland (defendant) and Sweden, asserted a claim of self-determination and independence from Finland in order to incorporate with Sweden so as to protect the Aalanders’ Swedish culture and language. In the Report of the International Committee of Jurists Entrusted by the Council of the League of Nations with the Task of Giving an Advisory Opinion upon the Legal Aspects of the Aaland Islands Question, the International Committee of Jurists of the League of Nations determined that the question of the Aaland Islands’ assertion of self-determination and independence claims was not solely within the jurisdiction of Finland. As a result, the League of Nations (the League) then appointed the Commission of Rapporteurs, consisting of representatives of member nations, to recommend a solution to the dispute. The Aaland Islands and Sweden argued that, because Finland was able to declare independence from Russia, the Aaland Islands should be able to similarly declare independence from Finland. Finland stated that separation was unnecessary because it was willing to grant the Aalanders guarantees of protection for their language and culture and to abide by any agreements with the Aaland Islands. In addition, a Finnish statute existed that already gave the Aaland Islands autonomy in regards to the administration of schools and language.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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