Condominium (international law)

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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, Germany, and Switzerland consider themselves to hold a tripartite condominium (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.

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. [9]


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, Joan Enric Vives i Sicília. [10]

Former condominia

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

Proposed condominia

See also

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