The Rise and Fall of Eunomia

Author:Frédéric Mégret - Alexandra Harrington
Position:McGill University - The State University of New York at Albany
e Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law
ISSN: 2338-7602; E-ISSN: 2338-770X
© 2017 e Institute for Migrant Rights Press
Frédéric Mégret
McGill University
Alexandra Harrington
he State University of New York at Albany
It had been a masterfully planned operation from start to nish. When
Grigory Savros heard the news that, following a massive volcanic erup-
tion in the South Pacic, a new island, roughly six by eight miles, had
emerged, he at rst paid little attention. e incident had of course gen-
erated considerable popular interest and, as the only known island of
its kind in several millennia, was the buzz of geologists. But the volca-
nic fumes arose hundreds of miles away from the nearest ight path,
and the island was rst reported as barely habitable. Savros had other
things to think about. One of the world’s richest men, he had made his
fortune betting against the nancial stability of emerging economies
through complex derivative products that only a few insiders—if any
—could fathom. He had since reinvented himself as, to use the Times
cover’s expression, “e World’s Biggest Philanthropist,” one involved
in everything from art to human rights, ghting global diseases to re-
ducing global warming. Besides, he was already the proud owner of no
less than two islands (one in the Caribbean, and one in the Mediterra-
nean) in which he hardly ever spent any time.
But one detail had caught Savros’ attention and vaguely stirred
up recollections from his international law days, before he became a
wealthy investor, when he was still what he sometimes described in
IV Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law 159-88 (January 2016)
Mégret & Harrington
interviews as an “idealistic law student” (he had quickly abandoned his
initial idea of working in international law, a discipline he had found to
be largely irrelevant to the ways of the world). e island was beyond
the territorial waters or even the exclusive economic zone of any State.
As such, it was no less than the rst bit of prime terra nullius real estate
to emerge in at least 200 years (with the exception of “fake” terra nullius
of colonization). Of course, this fact had not escaped several foreign
ministries, but of the few states with any presence in the region, most
concluded that it would be far too expensive to maintain a base on the
island, and quickly gave up the notion. e land and the surrounding
waters were devoid of any particular resource, at least the sort that
could be exploited protably. ese were hard nancial times globally,
and no State had the appetite for an extra piece of rock in the mid-
Pacic, with no economic or geopolitical value. One landlocked State
in Central Asia expressed some interest in acquiring the island so that
its Great Leader could claim to have “brought the sea” to his country,
but the plan quickly foundered. ere was some vague talk at the U.N.
General Assembly of “internationalizing” the rock (which still had no
name), but no one really knew what for, and the matter was deferred to
a committee. A window of opportunity had been opened, but no one
could quite suspect what use it would be put to.
Genesis and Settlement
With no expressions of interest from States in the region, Savros
summoned his inner circle of advisors to the privacy of his mountain
getaway. What emerged from this evening is still a matter of speculation
and what we know of it has been reconstructed from scattered archives
and memoires of those who were in attendance. At rst, Savros had
apparently been characteristically enigmatic about the reasons for
bringing them together at short notice. But aer dinner and over glasses
of (very good) cognac, he had ipped a switch in his parlor, turning
on a spectacular holographic display of a paradisiacal island, rich with
elds, roads and villages hovering just above the guests, and had made
the following almost comically solemn announcement: “Ladies, and
gentlemen, welcome to the soon-to-be state of Eunomia, the rst State
built by and for civil society, a State dedicated to the highest values of
justice, solidarity and freedom!” e guests had been abbergasted and,
were it not for Savross reputation for ts of anger, might have shared

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