Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)


The crime of aggression, as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, is only applicable to inter-state armed conflicts. There is, however, a gray area when an armed conflict erupts in the territory of a recognized state and initially looks like civil war, but has international elements such as the involvement of a quasi-state whose status and rights are disputed in international law. Resolving the issue of whether the crime of aggression is applicable to disputes involving quasi-states is important because (1) there are many quasi-states throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa; and (2) quasi-states are a major source of war due to the inherent nature of their militarized society and the long-term tensions that exist between a quasi-state, its mother state, and its external patron state.

The applicability of the crime of aggression to quasi-states depends on the interpretation of the meaning of “state” in the context of aggression. The meaning of “state” reflects a contradiction, because although state-like entities exist regardless of whether they receive recognition, recognition performs a function in determining which entities are qualified to join institutional clubs. Like recognized states, unrecognized quasi-states have been both perpetrators and victims of aggression. Yet, because they lack recognition, they have neither been protected nor prosecuted under the crime of aggression. This dissertation offers a suggestion for how “state” should be defined in the crime of aggression, and consequently, how the crime of aggression should be applied to armed conflicts involving quasi-states.