Condominium (international law)

A condominium (plural either condominia, as in Latin, or condominiums) in international law is a political territory (state or border area) in or over which multiple sovereign powers formally agree to share equal dominium (in the sense of sovereignty) and exercise their rights jointly, without dividing it into "national" zones.

Although a condominium has always been recognized as a theoretical possibility, condominia have been rare in practice. A major problem, and the reason so few have existed, is the difficulty of ensuring co-operation between the sovereign powers; once the understanding fails, the status is likely to become untenable.

The word is recorded in English since c. 1714, from Modern Latin, apparently coined in Germany c. 1700 from Latin con- 'together' + dominium 'right of ownership' (compare domain). A condominium of three sovereign powers is sometimes called a tripartite condominium or tridominium.

Current condominia

Abyei Area

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the Second Sudanese Civil War, created a special status administrative area known as the Abyei Area, which is considered to simultaneously be part of West Kordofan state and Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. Following the independence of South Sudan in 2011, the area effectively became a condominium between the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of the Sudan.


Antarctica is a de facto continental condominium, governed by the 29 parties to the Antarctic Treaty that have consulting status.

Brčko District

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Brčko District forms a condominium between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska.[1]

Gulf of Fonseca

El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua exercise a tripartite condominium over parts of the Gulf of Fonseca and of the territorial sea outside its mouth.[2][3][4]

Joint Regime Area

As an alternative to delimiting their sea boundary, Colombia and Jamaica share a maritime condominium called the Joint Regime Area in the Caribbean Sea by mutual agreement. The outer portion of the EEZ of each country otherwise would overlap in this area. Unlike other "joint development zones", this condominium appears not to have been purposed simply as a way to divide oil, fisheries or other resources.

Lake Constance

Austria and Germany consider themselves to hold a tripartite condominium with Switzerland (albeit on different grounds) over the main part of Lake Constance (without its islands). On the other hand, Switzerland holds the view that the border runs through the middle of the lake.[5][6] Hence, no international treaty establishes where the borders of Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, in or around Lake Constance, lie.[6]


The Moselle and its tributaries, the Sauer and the Our, constitute a condominium between Germany and Luxembourg, which also includes bridges, about 15 river islands of varying size,[7] and the tip of one island, Staustufe Apach,[8] near Schengen (the rest of the island is in France). The condominium was established by treaty in 1816.

MOU 74 Box

Officially known as the AustraliaIndonesia Memorandum of Understanding, the MOU Box was established by a bilateral agreement regarding the Operations of Indonesian Traditional Fishermen in Areas of the Australian Fishing Zone and Continental Shelf – 1974. The agreement recognizes access rights of traditional Indonesian fishers from Rote Ndao Regency in shared waters to the north of Australia with regard to the long history of traditional Indonesian fishing there, especially for trepang, trochus, abalone and sponges. The MOU Box covers an area of about 50,000 km2 (19,000 sq mi) including Scott and Seringapatam Reefs, Browse Island, and Ashmore and Cartier Islands.[9]

Pheasant Island

Pheasant Island (also known as Conference Island, Isla de los Faisanes in Spanish, Île de la Conférence in French or Konpantzia in Basque) in the Bidassoa is a condominium between France and Spain. It was established by the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. It is formally administered by Spain between 1 February and 31 July each year (181 or 182 days) and by France between 1 August and 31 January each year (184 days). The island has no permanent population and has been eroded significantly by the river.[10]


Under French law, Andorra was once considered to be a French–Spanish condominium, although it is more commonly classed as a co-principality, since it is itself a sovereign state, not a possession of one or more foreign powers. However, the position of head of state is shared ex officio by two foreigners, one of whom is the President of France, currently Emmanuel Macron, and the other the Bishop of Urgell in Spain, currently Joan Enric Vives i Sicília.[11]

Former condominia

Flags of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899–1956)

Proposed condominia

See also


  1. ^ "Amendment I to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2020.
  2. ^ Gómez Cruz, Ricardo Alonso (October 2004). Elementos Jurídicos para la Construcción de una Propuesta Tendente a la Recuperación Material y la Soberanía de la Isla Conejo en el Golfo de Fonseca (Legal Elements for the Construction of a Proposal to the Material Recovery and Sovereignty of Isla Conejo in the Gulf of Fonseca) (PDF) (Thesis). Universidad de El Salvador, Ciudad Universitaria, San Salvador, El Salvador. p. 33, 36, 46, 49 and 50. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  3. ^ Case Concerning Land, Island, and Maritime Frontier Dispute (El Salvador/Honduras, Nicaragua Intervening) (International Court of Justice 1992), Text.
  4. ^ Huezo Urquilla, Luis Salvador (July 1993). La controversia fronteriza terrestre, insular y maritima entre El Salvador y Honduras, y Nicaragua como país interviniente (Thesis). Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado, San Salvador, El Salvador. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  5. ^ Daniel-Erasmus Kahn (2004). Die deutschen Staatsgrenzen: rechtshistorische Grundlagen und offene Rechtsfragen ("The German national borders: legal-historical foundations and open legal questions"). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9783161484032.
  6. ^ a b Smith, Barry. "Fiat Objects" (PDF). Department of Philosophy, Center for Cognitive Science and NCGIA, SUNY at Buffalo (NY). pp. 24–25. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  7. ^ Jacobs, Frank (12 January 2012). "The World's Most Exclusive Condominium". Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  8. ^ "DEFRLUBEDELU.PDF (Archived map of condominium boundaries)" (PDF). Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Caswell MC3D Marine Seismic Survey Environment Plan: Public Summary" (PDF). National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  10. ^ The island that switches countries every six months, BBC News, 28 January 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  11. ^ Coprince d'Andorre, Hollande rend visite à la principauté, Le Parisien, 12 June 2014
  12. ^ Zavagno, L. (2013). Two hegemonies, one island: Cyprus as a "Middle Ground" between the Byzantines and the Arabs (650–850 A.D.). Reti Medievali Rivista.,%20one%20island.pdf.
  13. ^ Jozo Tomasevich. "The Chetniks". War and Revolution in Yugoslavia. Stanford University Press, 1975. Pp. 103. "The condominium in Croatia was the most important example of Italo-German collaboration in controlling and despoiling an occupied area [...]".
  14. ^ Stephen R. Graubard, (ed.).Exit from Communism. Transaction Publishers, 1993. Pp. 153–154. "After the Axis attack on Yugoslavia in 1941, Mussolini and Hitler installed the Ustašas in power in Zagreb, making them the nucleus of a dependent regime of the newly created Independent State of Croatia, an Italo-German condominium predicated on the abolition of Yugoslavia." [1]
  15. ^ Günay Göksu Özdoğan, Kemâli Saybaşılı. Balkans: a mirror of the new international order. Marmara Üniversitesi. Dept. of International Relations, 1995. Pp. 143. "Croatia (with Bosnia-Hercegovina) formally became a new Axis ally – the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). This was in fact, Italo-German condominium, [...]".
  16. ^ John R. Lampe (ed.), Mark Mazower (ed.). Ideologies and National Identities: The Case of Twentieth-Century Southeastern Europe. Central European University Press, 2003. Pp. 103. "[...] the Independent State of Croatia (hereafter NDH, Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska), in reality an Italo-German condominium[...]"
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ The UAE: Internal Boundaries and the Boundary with Oman. Vol. 6. pp. 477–478. ISBN 1-85207-575-9.
  19. ^ "Ajman/Muscat condominium". Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2017. I don't know when the Hadf zone agreement was terminated, but it certainly was.
  20. ^ "Bulgaria".
  21. ^ Bromley, J S (editor) 1970, The New Cambridge Modern History Volume 6: The Rise of Great Britain and Russia, 1688-1715/25, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521075244 (p. 428)
  22. ^ Namibia Yearbook, Issue 3, pages 18
  23. ^ The Complacent Country Archived 10 June 2020 at the Wayback Machine Kevin Rudd. 4 February 2019
  24. ^ CIA – The World Factbook – Gibraltar US Central Intelligence Agency
  25. ^ BBC News | Europe | Country profiles | Regions and territories: Gibraltar BBC News
  26. ^ The treaty has yet to be ratified by the Parliament of Canada, the Folketing (Parliament of Denmark), the Inatsisartut (Parliament of Greenland) and the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. The treaty will go into effect after aforementioned governments ratify the treaty.
  27. ^ How Mrs Thatcher lost Hong Kong, The Independent, Robert Cottrell, 30 August 1992
  28. ^ SDLP backs British-Irish rule if Northern Ireland devolution fails, The Guardian, 11 January 2017
  29. ^ Hayball, Harry Jack (2015). Serbia and the Serbian rebellion in Croatia (1990-1991) (Thesis (Ph.D.)). Goldsmiths College. p. 188. Archived from the original on 29 January 2023. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  30. ^ Davor Ivanković (6 December 2009). "British policy against Croatia's interests". Večernji list (Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia). Retrieved 28 October 2023.
  31. ^ Željko Trkanjec (12 December 2020). "Mate Granić: Milošević je pregovarao pijući viski. A evo tko je od Tuđmana tražio uklanjanje Bobana i 'naredio' da nikako ne zauzimamo Banju Luku". Slobodna Dalmacija. Retrieved 28 October 2023.

External links

  • WorldStatesmen – see each present country
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