Washington International Law Journal


Alan Berman


This article examines the upcoming 1998 referendum on self-determination in New Caledonia through the larger contextual lens of French historical involvement in the territory. The article addresses the impact French colonization has had on Kanak culture, legal institutions, social organization and economic livelihood. The historical policies of the French government are canvassed by exploring the manner in which France manipulated the legal process and political institutions it created in New Caledonia to entrench colonial control. The article concludes that the process of decolonization is unlikely to be completed in the near future. Finally, the article discusses the potential consequences for France and the international community of French non-compliance with its international legal obligations.

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