Political Science

What is Sovereignty and its Characteristics? Judiciary Notes

What is Sovereignty and its Characteristics?

Sovereignty refers to the supreme and ultimate authority within a territory, both politically and legally. It’s the exclusive power that a state possesses to govern itself without interference from external forces.

Characteristics of Sovereignty:

  1. Supreme Authority: Sovereignty embodies the highest and final authority within a specific territory. It holds the ultimate decision-making power over laws, policies, and governance.
  2. Exclusive Control: It implies the state’s exclusive control over its internal and external affairs without undue influence or interference from external powers.
  3. Territoriality: Sovereignty is tied to a defined geographical area or territory. States have authority within their borders and are recognized as independent entities.
  4. Independence: Sovereignty signifies a state’s independence in making decisions and conducting its affairs without being subordinate to external forces or authorities.
  5. Legitimacy: It involves the acknowledgment and recognition of a state’s sovereignty by other states and international entities. Recognition plays a crucial role in establishing a state’s legitimacy in the global arena.
  6. Non-Intervention: Sovereignty implies the principle of non-intervention, wherein external entities respect a state’s internal affairs, barring exceptional circumstances like humanitarian crises or violations of international law.
  7. Evolutionary Nature: Sovereignty can evolve and adapt, especially in the context of international relations, global interdependence, and changes in governance structures.
  8. Responsibility: Alongside its rights, sovereignty also entails responsibilities toward its citizens, including ensuring their security, welfare, and protection of their rights.
  9. Subject to International Law: While states hold sovereignty, they are also bound by international laws and agreements, which set limits and expectations on their conduct.

Sovereignty is a complex and sometimes contentious concept, especially in an increasingly interconnected world where global issues can challenge the traditional understanding of state autonomy.

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