Self-Determination, Minority Rights, and Constitutional Accommodation: The Example of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic

Part I of this note will explore the concepts of self-determination and minority rights in international law and their development over time. This is particularly relevant to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, because these concepts saw their first full flowering in the period during and following the First World War, when those countries gained their independence from the European powers. Part II will discuss the evolution of the constitutional relationship between the Czechs and the Slovaks from the constitution of the first Czechoslovak Republic to the current constitutional reforms of the CSFR. This analysis will show the emerging recognition of a limited right to a measure of autonomy.