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This question is inspired by this question on Worldbuilding.SE. Please take it with the imaginative grain of salt that is WB.SE. To summarize, the question introduces landmass sized sentient nonhuman entities and asks if they can claim/be claimed as a sovereign nation. It assumes that the entity is able to protect itself, going so far as to posit that it could act as its own military.

Given the above, is this legally feasible/possible? What laws regarding sovereignty exist that would even apply to this situation?

marked as duplicate by indigochild, chirlu, Shantanu Hebbar, SJuan76, Philipp Feb 28 '18 at 10:15

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  • Nah, that's normal stuff like setting up a country. I'm asking if I can make my physical body a country. – Jakob Lovern Feb 28 '18 at 2:35
  • Though you have asked about the legality here, this question has deep philosophical significance under political philosophy, and can also be asked in a general form at philosophy.se. :) – SMJoe Feb 28 '18 at 2:41
  • Ooh, a triple significance? I'll jump right on it! I like this! – Jakob Lovern Feb 28 '18 at 2:41
  • A normal human body? Or a sentient landmass? – indigochild Feb 28 '18 at 3:02
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    Since there are no sentient landmasses, any answer would be speculative. Voting to close. – chirlu Feb 28 '18 at 7:42
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"Claims" are just that, so the answer is yes. No matter what claim you're talking about.

Would that claim be acknowledged by country B? Depends on the power that living being holds over country B, and the benefits the current rulership of country B gets by doing so.

There is no international court that judges cases of international law*, there is no international police that arrests sovereign states who are suspected of committing crimes, and there is no international prison to put these sovereign states. There are however plenty of armies ready to take your stuff if you give them an excuse.


Regarding the second part of the question "is is possible?" that depends on motivation of the acknowledging states. Good motivations are either potential trade profits, or gaining a powerful/influential ally, if these benefits cannot be easily acquired by other means (such as capturing or slaying and then harvesting the creature).


*Yes, there are organs that are called "international court", but I was referring to function, not name. These courts serve as "a multinational arbiter", not as "the international court". And even where these "multinational arbiters" have jurisdiction (due to both parties having signed a contract), a sufficient power imbalance between accuser and accused can still frequently sideline them.

  • By 'legally possible' I didn't mean 'is it illegal,' I meant 'Does it even make sense?' – Jakob Lovern Feb 28 '18 at 1:31
  • -1. There is an international court that judges cases of international law. Also, this treats the question as being trivial. Sure anything anywhere can be claimed by anyone, but the question asks about international law, which is far more substantive than you've given it credit for. – indigochild Feb 28 '18 at 2:00
  • @indigochild which court is that? – phoog Feb 28 '18 at 6:47
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    @phoog: The International Court of Justice, I presume. However, its jurisdiction is limited; probably the only way this question could come before the ICJ would be the Security Council or the General Assembly of the UN asking it for an advisory opinion. Of course, the statement “There is no international court that judges cases of international law” in general is wrong (and there are others, too, such as the International Criminal Court and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea). – chirlu Feb 28 '18 at 7:37
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    @chirlu "It settles legal disputes between member states and gives advisory opinions" - neither of which is relevant to the question. Yes, there are organs that are called "international court", but I was referring to function, not name. These courts serve as "a multinational arbiter", not as "the international court". – Peter Feb 28 '18 at 9:17

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