Le côté obscur de l’autodétermination

CAMBRIDGE – Si l’autodétermination nationale semble à première vue un principe moral simple, elle est porteuse de nombreux problèmes. Après avoir envoyé des troupes en Géorgie en août 2008, la Russie a reconnu l’indépendance de deux provinces géorgiennes sécessionnistes, l’Ossétie du Sud et l’Abkhazie. Voyant que peu d’autres pays suivaient son exemple, elle a rappelé que les pays de l’Otan avaient eu recours à la force pour aider le Kosovo à se séparer de la Serbie.

L’autodétermination se définit généralement comme le droit d’un peuple à former son propre État. C’est là un principe important, mais qui doit décider de la détermination ?

Prenons le cas de la Somalie dans les années 1960. Les Africains ont eu recours au principe d’autodétermination pour mettre un terme au joug colonialiste. Contrairement à de nombreux peuples d’États africains, les Somalis bénéficiaient en gros du même contexte linguistique et ethnique. Le Kenya voisin, en revanche, avait été formé par l’autorité coloniale à partir de dizaines de peuples ou tribus distincts, aux coutumes et aux usages linguistiques différents. Une partie du nord du Kenya était habitée par des Somalis.

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