Autonomy and Demilitarisation in International Law: the Aland Islands in a Changing Europe

The Aland Islands constitute a very special case in international law. This island territory under Finland's sovereignty has been demilitarised and neutralised for more than one hundred and forty years and autonomous for more than seventy years. In 1921 the Council of the League of Nations laid down international guarantees for the autonomy and the Swedish character of Aland, and a multilateral convention on Aland's demilitarisation and neutralisation was concluded in the same year. The convention is still in force and Aland's autonomy is firmly anchored in both customary international law and Finnish constitutional law. This volume is the first to comprehensively analyse Aland's international legal status. Coverage of its articles includes: analyses of the status and content of Aland's autonomy, military issues, and the relationship between Aland and the EU. The solution achieved for Aland may provide a valuable model of autonomy. This book is important not only for experts and students of international law, but for anyone concerned with territorial autonomy as a possible means for enhancing political rights of minorities.