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Expiration and Expiation
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A subsidiary of the Degussa company provided some of the cyanide used by the Nazis. Therefore, Degussa cannot provide the anti-graffiti sealant for the holocaust memorial. At what point do the sanctions lapse? After 100 years when presumably everyone who could possibly have had a personal connection has died? Or is the sanction eternal, now to the end of time? Or when?

I'm put in mind of claims to territory in certain parts of the world. Claims that are 200, 300, 1000 years old. At what point does de facto existence become acknowledged as de jure? Notice I'm not naming names, because to do so only starts a flame war, when what I'd like to do is discuss the concept. It seems to me that at some point in time, I just don't know how it would be established, people would say, well, I guess this corner of the world belongs to [fill in the blank] since their people have occupied it for [fill in a number] years.

I'd love to give some examples but I'm sure you can come up with your own--if you go back far enough, maybe the whole world belongs to some tribe in Africa and the rest of us should commit suicide. Reductio ad absurdum. But short of that, what criterion is used in international law?

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