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In 1992, when Yugoslavia was on the point of disintegration, the Badinter Commission recommended that the issue of its boundaries be resolved according to the principle of ""uti possidetis"": the internal boundaries dividing the former Yugoslav Republics should automatically become the international boundaries of the new states.
Elated by what seemed a clear and workable solution to an impossible problem, the international community proceeded to impose the obindingo principle of ""uti possidetis"" on all the parties involved. Relying on the Badinter interpretation of ""uti possidetis"", five experts in international law have assured the Quebec government that in the event of separation from Canada, Quebec could assume legal entitlement under international law of its existing boundaries.
In this text, Suzanne Lalonde examines the origins of the ""uti possidetis"" principle, its evolution and colonial roots as well as applications, to determine whether it merits the overriding importance now attributed to it.