A new article by Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark was recently published in Journal of Conflict and Security Law. The article moves across international, European Union (EU) and domestic law while examining the legal puzzle of collective security. The right to collective exercise of self-defence remains one of the tools in the global system of collective security, as guided by the United Nations Charter. States have different possibilities when exercising their inherent right to self-defence, and relevant decisions are made at the national, European as well as at international level. The recent expansion of the interpretations of the right to self-defence poses new problems for small states often ‘squeezed’ between superpowers and alliances of all sorts. The reinterpretation of the collective security system also affects old-standing legal regimes such as the one pertaining to the Åland Islands. The international legal rules on the demilitarisation and neutralisation of the islands, with their origins in the outcomes of the 19th-century Crimean War, form a small part of the global collective security system, which aims at limiting the use of armed force in inter-state relations. The EU Common Security and Defence Policy as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation undertakings are interpreted and implemented in the domestic legal orders of their respective Member States. The diverging interpretations of the core concepts involved create ambiguities that are also visible in current domestic legal and political debates.
Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark is the head of a research project “Demilitarisation in an Increasingly Militarised World. International perspectives in a multilevel framework – the case of the Åland Islands”, that is a cooperation between researchers at the Åland Islands Peace Institute and the Arctic Center (University of Lapland, Rovaniemi). Research is supported by the Kone foundation and the Åland Culture Foundation (Ålands kulturstiftelse).
The article “The Puzzle of Collective Self-defence: Dangerous Fragmentation or a Window of Opportunity? An Analysis with Finland and the Åland Islands as a Case Study” was published in Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Volume 22, Issue 2, 1 July 2017. The article can be found here.