In the context of the civil wars in Libya and Syria, a legal term which was well-known during the decolonisation process re-emerged in statements issued by different foreign ministries. Libyan and Syrian opposition groups were recognised by States as ‘the legitimate representative’ of their people. Since, little scholarly attention has been paid to this development. The recognition was perceived as political rhetoric rather than an act of legal significance. Even the re-emergence of the concept of ‘the legitimate representative of a people’ in a United Nations General Assembly (‘UNGA’) resolution passed unnoticed, with its analysis still missing in the existing literature. This article argues that the re-emergence of the concept of ‘the legitimate representative of a people’ in cases outside the decolonisation process might hint at the beginning of a legal development, which allows the assistance and supply of arms to opposition groups recognised as the legitimate representative of a people. It provides an analysis of the statements made by States in regard to UNGA Resolution 67/262 and contends that the legal concept of ‘the legitimate representative of a people’ could evolve in those future cases in which democratically elected groups have been barred from access to power or ousted by coups d’état.
How to Cite:
Edtmayer, M., 2018. The Re-Emergence of the Legitimate Representative of a People: Libya, Syria, and Beyond. LSE Law Review, 3, pp.1–28.