NEWEST COUNTRY: LIBERLAND

Back in the days, in the beginning of humankind, people were able to settle any place that seemed suitable for living. Nowadays people cannot do such thing. You should buy/inherit/legally acquire your own place to live. Any other “empty” land is property of the country it is located in. However, what if there was a piece of land not part of any country nor property of anyone? That is what is formally called as Terra Nullius.

Terra Nullius is a Latin phrase[1] that means land of nobody, and by nobody, I mean literally nobody. This concept was used in many situations historically although not in its full meaning because most colonists declared newly discovered territories as Terra Nullius even though there were actual people (indigenous tribes) living there. A clear example is Captain Cook declaring Australia as terra nullius, ignoring the indigenous people.[2] Anyway. Now, Terra Nullius represents a territory that has no owner, no State, no person nor any corporation, as mentioned above: nobody.

So, what if I found such territory and decided to create a, for example, “porn zone” or a land for stranded dogs or, thinking big, a country? Of course I could. Allow me to introduce you to the latest product of the use of Terra Nullius: LIBERLAND.

Thirty one year old Vit Jedlicka wanted to found a country based on human freedom. So he looked everywhere for a terra nullius. He found several areas but chose a tiny unclaimed territory on former Yugoslavia[3] where he decided to fulfill his dream, a new country that was going to be called Liberland.

The neighbors were not so happy (Serbia and Croatia) and consider Liberland as a joke. However Jedlicka claims they have received so far 360000 citizenship requests (so far, only 20 more or less have been accepted)[4] and different countries are willing to recognize its sovereignty, although only North Sudan has done it so far.

They are collecting donations and gathering volunteers to build the country. In their official web page they have a draft of the constitution and some basic laws.

To satisfy your curiosity, the first paragraph of its constitution says:

We, the Citizens of the Free Republic of Liberland, in order to secure Liberty, Life and Property, for ourselves and future generations, do ordain and establish the Constitution of the Free Republic of Liberland, attempting a harmonious consensus for the benefit of all those willing to assume responsiblity over the course of their lives. Being aware of a long and shameful list of governments’ trespasses to the Rights of the people, we hereby declare that the Public Authority governing the Free Republic of Liberland shall first and foremost respect the Bill of Rights and exercise only such functions as have been delegated to it under this Constitution. Therefore, we declare that whenever the Public Authority becomes an obstacle to, rather than a  guarantor of, our Rights, it shall be our duty to alter or abolish such government, and to institute a new government for the restoration of the Rights which we consider inherent in all human beings.

I am pretty sure they have a lot of work to do, and since I see no legal nor ethic impediment, I give Liberland my complete blessing. Although if I was the president, I would use this country to receive refugees (just a thought…).

If interested:

You can register for citizenship here, although there’s currently a backlog of thousands. Applicants are required to have respect for private ownership and the opinions of others.

SOME CONCRETE DATA OF INTEREST[5]

OFFICIAL NAME: Free Republic of Liberland

OFFICIAL MOTTO: Live and Let Live

FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional republic with elements of direct democracy

NATIONALITY: Liberlanders

FOUNDATION DATE: April 13th, 2015 (in honor of the birth of Thomas Jefferson)

PRESIDENT/FOUNDER: Vit Jedlicka

AREA: 7km2

OFFICIAL LANGUAGUE: Czech and English

LOCATION: Between Serbia and Croatia

MAP:

liberland2

 

[1] The Doctrine of Terra Nullius. Link: http://stage6.pbworks.com/f/The+Doctrine+of+terra+nullius.pdf

[2] PARTINGTON, Geoffrey. Thoughts on Terra Nullius. Chapter Eleven. Link: http://samuelgriffith.org.au/docs/vol19/v19chap11.pdf

[3] BBC News. El hombre que fundó Liberland. Link: http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias/2015/08/150812_sociedad_cultura_nuevo_pais_liberland_serbia_croacia_amv

[4] CNN News. Liberland: Could the world’s newest micronation get off the ground? Link: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/25/europe/liberland-worlds-newest-micronation/

[5] Liberland Official Site. Link: https://liberland.org/en/about/

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