The on-going crisis in Jammu & Kashmir has refocused international attention on the disputed territory. While the political and diplomatic dimensions are routinely discussed, the Kashmir issue primarily remains one of legal significance. From the application of numerous UN Security Council Resolutions to the constitutional changes made by the Indian state on 5 August 2019, all entail legal consequences and unfulfilled international obligations. Given the significance of Jammu & Kashmir to Pakistan and India, as well as to regional peace and security, it is unfortunate that scant scholarly analysis is available on the international law dimensions of the situation. It is for this reason that the Research Society of International Law, Pakistan (RSIL) has developed this legal memorandum to help inform debate on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and provide clarity on the applicable international law. This memorandum discusses the international law relevant to the transfer of legal title, to territories under occupation, as well as the legal rules applicable to illegal annexations.
In our assessment, the State of India is an Occupying Power in Jammu & Kashmir and through its actions of 5 August 2019, has attempted to unlawfully annex this territory without any recourse to the will of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Based on an analysis of the applicable law, this memorandum sets out in broad strokes, the main legal implications of India’s occupation and unlawful annexation.
This document is not intended to be an exhaustive analysis. RSIL welcomes feedback and academic engagement on the legal positions outlined below.