Assignment (international law)

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The law knows the assignment or cession of a territory by an international treaty between the outgoing government ( transferor ) and the acquiring State ( assignee ) as well as the assignment of rights . For this purpose, the assignor transfers them to the assignee.

In constitutional law, there is the assignment of territory (area assignment) mainly between the member states of a federal state .

Besides the (natural) alluvio of new land (alluvio) or the emergence of islands in the territorial waters, the non-enforced territorial assignment is the only peaceful land acquisition among subjects of international law . It is about the acquisition or loss of territorial sovereignty over an area by contract. In contrast, a state can only grant another certain rights over its territory or part of its territory ( territorial sovereignty ) without losing its final power of disposal. If the entire sovereignty for the area is transferred, foreign law will apply to the sovereign territory of the granting state, which has thus made an administrative assignment.

Territorial assignments often take place after military occupation or after threats of military force . As a rule, historians do not clearly refer to this as annexation . Strictly speaking, however, according to the jurisprudential view, an annexation only exists if the incorporation of the area into the foreign state association takes place unilaterally and without (formal) agreement and the ownership is final.

See also


  1. original acquisition of territory
  2. derivative territory acquisition
  3. See Metzger, Swiss legal dictionary
  4. Marcel Kau, in: Graf Vitzthum / Proelß (ed.), Völkerrecht , 6th edition 2013, Rn. 133 .