2harmony in the world, rom the draing o the UN Universal Declaration o HumanRights to the Convention on the Prohibition o Anti-Personnel Mines. Tat is my con- viction, and I could not hope or a better orum in which to express it, since one o the justices who rendered that unanimous opinion on August 20, 1998 was in act theHonourable Michel Bastarache.Aer describing how the international community views the phenomenon o seces-sion and identiying the principles in play, I will argue that the opinion o our SupremeCourt does indeed have universal scope and signicance, and then close by bringingthe discussion back home, that is, to the current situation o Canadian unity and theQuebec separatist movement.
1. Te aversion o States and the international community to secession
Secession is the act o separating rom a State to orm a new one or to join another one.Let us note rst o all that, all around the world, secession is not something that is en-couraged outside o the colonial setting. On the contrary, secession is considered withdenite mistrust – even real aversion when it is eected unilaterally, that is, withoutan agreement negotiated with the predecessor State. Tis mistrust o secession can be veried at three levels: those o domestic State law, international law, and internal Statepractice.
1.1 Domestic law
In terms o domestic law, numerous States arm their indivisibility in their constitu-tion or their jurisprudence. Many democratic States, or example France, the UnitedStates, Italy, Spain, Australia, Finland, Norway and Sweden, consider themselves to beinseparable entities.
1.2 International law
In international law, any attempt at unilateral secession, that is, secession with noagreement negotiated with the existing State, is without legal oundation. Internation-al law does not prohibit unilateral secessions. It simply does not authorize them. Tereare no regulations in this respect, except in cases where there is a right to secession,namely in the case o colonies, subjugation or oreign occupation.On July 22, 2010, the International Court o Justice declared in an advisory opinionthat the unilateral declaration o independence o Kosovo did not violate internationallaw. Te Court noted that there is no applicable rule in international law under whichsuch declarations can be disallowed.Te Court did not say that Kosovo had a right to secede rom Serbia. In act, the Courtdid not rule on the legal consequences o this unilateral declaration o independence.It explicitly reused to say whether or not Kosovo has the status o a State, and did nottell States whether they should recognize Kosovo as a State.Aside rom cases o colonies or subjugation, international law has no rule or the pro-