On 10 October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands consisting of five islands in the Caribbean, was dissolved. Two of the islands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, became autonomous countries within the Kingdom. The other three islands (Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius) were integrated into the country The Netherlands as special "public bodies". The status of Aruba, the other Caribbean country within the Kingdom, remained the same.
This study examines the process that lead to the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, and the current status of the islands, from the viewpoint of the right to self-determination of peoples under international law. In particular, it examines how the individual islands of the former Netherlands Antilles became separate units of self-determination and how the choices that lead to their current status were made. Especially, the integration of the islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius into the country The Netherlands raises complicated questions about the conformity with international law of their current status and the continued relevance of the right to self-determination.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Charlotte M.A.M. Duijf read law at Utrecht University, and subsequently obtained a Master of Laws-degree there in Public International Law. Currently she is a postgraduate student in Theory and History of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Alfred H.A. Soons is Professor of Public International Law at Utrecht University and at the University of Curaçao. He was, inter alia, President of the Netherlands Society of International Law, Director of Studies of the International Law Association and member and chairman of the Standing Advisory Committee on Public International Law of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Currently he serves as chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Netherlands Defense Academy.