Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 March 2005
This article reviews the case concerning Kasikili/Sedudu Island with reference to acquisition of title to territory under international law. It traces the ICJ's use of evidence of African use and occupation to establish territorial sovereignty in a European state. The tests adopted by the Court are based on Eurocentric assumptions that only the consent of European states is necessary to adjudicate nineteenth century claims of title to territory. International law still carries forward within it the colonial notion that treaties between colonial powers in the nineteenth century extinguished pre-existing title to territory based on African use and occupation. The decision gives probative value to economic intentions of colonizing powers and geographical and scientific evidence in determining title to the disputed island while Africa use and occupation of territory is sidelined. Africa is treated as an unconscious geographical entity – a feature referred to as geographical Hegelianism in this article.