Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies

Volume 2 – Issue 2

December 2018


Kjell-Åke Nordquist

Readers of The Journal of Autonomy and Security (JASS) studies are well aware of the widening content of the concept of “security” in recent decades. While this development has expanded the agenda of security studies, it has also resulted in a more developed understanding of the fact that “security” – whatever it means in a given situation – is the consequence of other circumstances than itself. Of course, this is a healthy development. It creates both empirical and theoretical challenges.

It is no longer possible to talk about security in general terms in a meaningful way. Instead, more specific approaches are needed. This Issue of JASS is a very good example of this: it contains articles that range from a traditionally formulated context of security, to identity, collective security and ontological security.

In particular, the context of security through demilitarisation is highlighted in some articles, while in other a more explicit or implicit comparative perspective is taken. Åland, with its international regimes of demilitarisation and neutralisation, is put in perspective in relation to Svalbard as well as to Nagorno-Karabakh. An equally important dimension is the possibility to link security to human rights, or vice versa – something that is developed in an article on North Korea. Finally – and in between all of this – stands an article analysing the development of the identity and ontological security of the Åland Islands.

While this Issue of JASS keeps security as a conceptual thread throughout, the autonomy dimension is not set aside, but is actually explicitly present in most of the articles. In this way we believe, in the editorial group, that the issues raised by the title of the Journal are approached in new and innovative ways.


Article Overview

Aspects Regarding the Svalbard Demilitarisation in Relation to Norway Joining the Atlantic Alliance in 1949

Reflections on the Åland Islands’ Demilitarised and Neutralised status in the Event of a Finnish NATO accession


Åsa Gustafsson

The article strives to explore certain aspects regarding the Svalbard demilitarisation in relation to Norway joining the Atlantic Alliance, which could be of interest in relation to the Åland Islands’ status as demilitarised and neutralised in a situation where Finland would decide to join NATO – although the Svalbard and the Åland Islands’ legal regimes are sui generis regimes, differing for a number of fundamental reasons, as parts of a two larger regimes that differ historically, of dissimilar construction and disparate in nature.

Taking a closer look at the state of the Svalbard legal regime around the time when Norway joined the Atlantic Alliance in 1949 leads to the conclusion that there were threats towards it from 1944–1947, followed by a reconfirmation of the security provisions in the Svalbard Treaty. Arguably the Åland Islands’ legal regime of today is more robust. Seemingly, the application of ‘NATO’s’ arts. 4 and 5 have so far not had any ties to Svalbard.

The leeway for interpretation of treaty provisions is arguably of wider scope in the Svalbard case than in the Ålandic one. Any kind of reservation for the Svalbard status at the time of Norway joining the Atlantic Alliance was not considered. The article discusses whether an acknowledgement of the Åland Islands’ status would be feasible in the event of a Finnish NATO membership, and finds that a number of issues are still not explored.

Open as HTML / Download PDF

The French Perspective on the Åland Islands:

A Cyclic Interest?

Between Geopolitics, Historiography, and a Case Study


Matthieu Chillaud

Combining historical depth and political analysis, this article examines the way that France has perceived the strategic role of the Åland Islands, as well as the French role in the construction of their status of demilitarisation and neutralisation. For that, we strove to draw a parallel between, on the one hand, the intensity of French activities in the Baltic Sea in general and on the Åland Islands in particular, and, on the other hand, the amount of literature in social sciences and the humanities that examines the Åland Islands.

This exercise substantiates the hypothesis that whilst this region used to be quite well known in France, nowadays this is no longer the case. It is bound to change, as the majority of the riparian States of the Baltic Sea and France belong henceforth to the same security and defence organisations, namely the EU and NATO. Subsequently, France cannot be indifferent to an area in which she has to assume her historical role, so far almost consigned to oblivion.

Open as HTML / Download PDF

The Nexus between Arms Control and Human Rights in the

Case of North Korea.

Implications for the human rights agenda


Katja Creutz

The exceptionally poor human rights record of North Korea has for long remained eclipsed by the issue of arms control. The Commission of Inquiry report of 2014 nevertheless centre-staged human rights, and there is increasing evidence to the fact that the two issues are connected. The international community has nevertheless been divided over whether to link human rights and arms control or not, in addition to by what means North Korea should be contained.

This article seeks to explore international responses to the North Korean human rights situation from a normative-descriptive approach. The article will explore the rise of softer security concerns next to traditional ones by tracing the building of human rights momentum within the UN. This will be followed by analysis on the nexus between the issue of arms control or broader security concerns and human rights. The risks and opportunities involved in connecting the two subject matters will thereafter be considered from the prism of human rights, after which strategies for future international responses will be discussed.

It will be argued that the human rights momentum built in the aftermath of the 2014 Commission of Inquiry report has placed human rights firmly at the centre of international attention. Moreover, the placing of North Korean human rights on the Security  Council agenda was a step with longterm political and legal implications.

Open as HTML / Download PDF

The Future of Ảland Islands’ Identity


Pertti Joenniemi

The aim of this contribution is to zoom in on the identity of the Ảland Islands. It is to argue that it is bound to change, not just because of altered external conditions, but above all due to a profound change in the way identities felt to be secure are constructed in the first place. The argument draws on the concept of ontological security, which refers to an actor’s ability to ‘go on’ in everyday life without slipping into a state characterized by a high level of debilitating anxiety. Using Åland as a test case, this article argues that there are ways and means for constructing an identity, in ways which are felt to be ontologically secure, even if earlier pre-eminence of difference becomes undermined.

Open as HTML / Download PDF

Additional Material

Research Note:

Comparing the Åland Islands Precedent and the Nagorno-

Karabakh Conflict

Kamal Makili-Aliyev

This research note explores available studies concerning the possibility of the resolution of the Nagorno- Karabakh Conflict through implementation of good practices and experiences of the Åland Islands precedent to pave way for the final solution of the territorial conflict through the application of the international law. In the original exploratory research effort that was carried out in 2017–2018 at the Faculty of Law of Lund University, very close similarities were found between the conflict situation in the case of Åland Islands, that was resolved in the beginning of the 20th century, and the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict that is a protracted armed conflict for which a resolution has not been ready to find for more than a quarter of a century now.

Subsequent research raised many interesting questions connected to the right of peoples to self-determination, its evolution through the 20th century, the importance of demilitarisation and neutralisation for Nagorno-Karabakh, minority rights issues and other matters important for the discussion on applicability of certain elements of Åland Islands precedent to the situation of Nagorno-Karabakh. The differences in geographical location, territorial dissimilarities, historical context and political processes that influence the two situations during separate periods of time are also considered in the discussion as important for a resolution of the conflict based on international law.

Open as HTML / Download PDF

Research Note:

What is the essence of the institution of demilitarisation?

Reflections upon Completion of the Research Project

“Demilitarisation in an increasingly militarised world – International perspectives

in a multilevel framework: The case of the Åland Islands”


Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark

About the author and project:

Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark is Associate Professor of International Law and Director of the Åland Islands Peace Institute. She has had the pleasure of heading the research project discussed in the present article. Many thanks go to all researchers involved in it over the years, namely Timo Koivurova, Pirjo Kleemola-Juntunen, Saila Heinikoski, Filip Holiencin and Yannick Poullie for all their hard work, support, and for fruitful and pleasant cooperation. Our discussions have been enriched by the generous input and wise questions of the Scientific Advisors of the project: Lauri Hannikainen, professor emeritus; Allan Rosas, Professor, Judge at the EU Court of Justice; Gregory Simons, associate professor/docent, Uppsala Center for Russian Studies; Kenneth Gustavsson, associate professor/docent, Åland  museum; Said Mahmoudi, professor emeritus; Päivi Kaukoranta, Director General Legal Affairs and ambassador, Finnish MFA; Matthieu Chillaud, PhD, France/Estonia; Geir Ulfstein, Professor, University of Oslo, Norway; Willy Østreng, professor emeritus, director, former vice-president of the Norwegian Academy for Polar Research. Alison Bailes, guest professor and ambassador (UK) was a member of the advisory board until spring 2016.

Open as HTML / Download PDF

Call for Papers


The editors welcome submissions of manuscripts that focus on, or relate to, the topics and intersections of security, autonomy arrangements, and minority issues. Apart from reviewed articles, JASS also welcomes other kinds of contributions, such as essays, book reviews, conference papers and research related project notes. Articles should not exceed 12 000 words (excluding references) and be written in British or American English. For other contributions, such as book reviews, conference reports, project- and research notes, the maximum length is 4 000 words. The layout of the text should be in single-column format and kept as simple as possible. Manuscripts to be considered for Issue I/2019 should be submitted by 15th January 2019.

The deadline for Issue II/2019 is 15th August 2019.

Further details on the submission process can be found at:

Download PDF

If the PDF Reader above does not display properly, please reload the page.


Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies - ISSN 2489-4265

Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute
Hamngatan 4
AX-22101 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland


This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0    

CC iconby iconnc iconsa icon