Please elaborate on the steps needed to create a new state in international waters

  1. whose existence could not be denied by, say, the U.S.A., Japan and France.

  2. that would permit commerce with minimal requirements.


  • Is it necessary to forbid killing of humans? (I would like to forbid killing animals with exception to human)

  • Also, I would like to understand what the role of the UN is, and if a new state would need to register with the United Nations.

  • Finally, is commerce from space possible, say, for materials from the solar system?

  • 1
    There are no "steps" to getting recognition from the US, Japan and France. Abkhazia is recognized by just a few countries: that's a political matter, not a legal one. Many nations have capital punishment yet are recognised by all countries. There is no such thing as "registering" with the UN.
    – user6726
    Mar 16 '16 at 19:46
  • Thanks for the comment. I mistakenly believed that there were steps in order to open a trade route. Mar 16 '16 at 20:41
  • 1
    I understand that WTO deals with commerce and UN with international co-operation, and recognition is something that happens between Nation States themselves, since diplomacy seems only to be a common practice, not a requirement for Nations. Mar 16 '16 at 21:00
  • @Syl The US doesn't have to allow any country to trade with it, absent a treaty to the contrary. So there's that. Also, the capacity to engage in international relations is a requirement to be a sovereign state.
    – cpast
    Mar 16 '16 at 22:58
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    I've answered the legal bit of your question - the general practice is to ask separate questions instead of cramming it all into one, and your additional questions are not really related to your first question at all. Forbidding murder, the role of the United Nations and whether commerce from space is possible is not really relevant to Statehood.
    – jimsug
    Mar 17 '16 at 2:19

The most commonly used definition for statehood is the declaratory theory, codified by the Montevideo Convention. This says that statehood doesn't depend on recognition by other states; it merely requires four things:

  • A defined territory
  • A permanent population
  • An effective government
  • The capacity to enter into relations with other states.

You immediately run into issues around the defined territory (you don't really have one) and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. But let's ignore those for a second. Meeting these requirements in some abstract world doesn't mean you get treated like a state. If no one else agrees with your claim to statehood and they act inconsistently with it, you have little recourse. You might get them not caring enough to do anything about it, but if they decide you're not a country you're out of luck.

You have some misconceptions about statehood as well. A country is allowed to forbid trade with any foreign country, even ones it recognizes as sovereign states. See: US embargo on Cuba. It is also entitled to deny foreign ships access to its ports. Ships flying the flag of a sovereign state are entitled to innocent passage through territorial waters of another state, but not to the use of that state's ports.

A country can certainly allow people to be killed and still be a country. See: the US, which has the death penalty for certain crimes. But if you're killing nationals of a foreign country, that foreign country is likely to take a keen interest in your activities. If the killings are judicially-ordered executions based on violations of your penal laws, that's one thing -- Australia might consider it awful that an Australian citizen was shot by Indonesia for drug smuggling, but they recognize that Indonesia is a real country with its own laws that it has a right to apply. If it's just lawless there, the keen interest might culminate in a travel warning. But in more extreme cases, or where the killings are of people who didn't willingly enter your territory, you're looking at potential military action.


You're really asking about the requirements for Statehood - whether individual States will recognise another, as has correctly been noted, is largely a matter of politics and policy, which is distinct enough of an issue that we need not concern ourselves with it here.

You're asking too many questions for me to answer here, particularly the last one, so I'm going to consider just your basic question: how does one create a new State?

There are a few theories that describe past processes of gaining Statehood but the current and generally authoritative one is the Montevideo Convention, which codifies customary international law.

Montevideo Convention

The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

The Convention also states that Statehood is independent of recognition by other States - this means that whether you are recognised by the United States, France or Japan is largely irrelevant to whether or not you are a State.

A permanent population

This isn't too difficult - just find yourself some territory and occupy it, permanently. This doesn't mean your populace can't travel, only that the territory needs to be their permanent residence.

A defined territory

This is probably most pertinent to your desire to create a new State into the [sic] international sea waters - you can't create a State on a boat, or even on a network of boats.


Fairly easy, the threshold for government is that it need only be sufficient and effective - it doesn't need to be democratic, or fair, etc.

You could set the government up openly as a dictatorship and still fulfil this requirement as long as it was effective.

Capacity to enter into relations with other states

This is where many purported States fail - generally, micronations and quasi-States are not recognised by other States, and so their capacity to enter into relations is difficult or impossible to gauge.

So, to summarise:

  1. Establish a permanent population
  2. Demarcate a defined territory
  3. Establish a government
  4. Get other States to enter into relations with you

If you do all these things, you have technically fulfilled the requirements for Statehood under the Montevideo Convention.

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