Reference: Hamza HADJ CHERIF, Le droit de souveraineté permanente sur les ressources naturelles dans les territoires occupés et les territoires non autonomes, Thèse de doctorat spécialité droit public, sous la direction d’Anne-Marie TOURNEPICHE , Bordeaux, école doctorale de droit (ED 41), 2018, 565 p.
“The right to permanent sovereignty over natural resources in occupied and non-selfgoverning territories”
Our thesis is based on the observation that the right to permanent sovereignty over natural resources (PSNR) in occupied and non-self-governing territories is disregarded by a number of actors on the international scene; some of these actors, however, claim to be committed to the norms of international law. Two hypotheses are put forward to explain this dilemma: either the right to PSNR has not yet been affirmed as a positive rule of international law applicable to occupied and non-self-governing territories, or the right to PSNR is rooted in international law but has not yet been effectively applied in these territories due to a lack of adequate monitoring mechanisms.
Regarding the question of whether the right to PSNR is a rule of positive international law, our review indicates that the right’s legal basis has profoundly changed the legal framework regulating the exploration and exploitation of natural resources in occupied and non-self-governing territories. An examination of the effectiveness of the right’s application required an inventory of natural resource exploration and exploitation activities in a sample of these territories. Collected data reinforce the presumption that the right to PSNR is difficult to apply there.
Efforts by international organizations to monitor and implement the right to PSNR in occupied and nonself-governing territories have been limited. The right’s effective application is further undermined by a lack of jurisdictional mechanisms against companies’ illegal exploitation of natural resources. An examination of the role of certain NGOs and investment funds in monitoring and implementing the right to PSNR suggests that these private actors can effectively encourage implicated companies to cease illegal activity; however, their role alone does not compensate for the lack of mechanisms put in place by public actors (states and international organizations).