Take Somalia for example, the central government has almost no control outside the capital and arguable within it as well (citation needed). Although the government is recognized internationally as the governing body within its borders, large areas can be said to have no effective government. What would we call these areas to distinguish them from other forms of government such as the illegitimate control of Al-Shabab or other sectarian bodies?
The following article from The Economist refer to this part of the conutry as "ungoverned territory".
Neighbouring regions worry about the Donbas becoming a largely ungoverned swathe of land.
Somalia scenario”, under which the Donbas becomes a swathe of ungoverned territory harbouring bandits who cross ...
"ungoverned territory" seems like the best choice.
- ungoverned (adj) - not restrained or controlled
- rebellious - (of a person, city, or state) engaged in opposition or armed resistance to an established government or ruler.
- insurgent - rising in active revolt.
- land or area that is unowned, uninhabited, or undesirable. Disputed ground between the front lines or trenches of two opposing armies.
In the West we describe such a country as lawless.
Somalia’s Pirates Flourish in a Lawless Nation The New York Times
The following article challenges that.
It is often said that Somalia is a lawless country but in fact, most Somalis abide by an ancient system of justice, known as xeer (pronounced heer). Centuries-old, xeer has survived dictatorship, warlordism and a rise in Islamic militancy. http://www.trust.org/item/?map=forget-war-and-hunger-a-few-things-you-didnt-know-about-somalia/
In English, nouns ending in -archy or -cracy often describe systems of government; e.g.: monarchy, democracy, technocracy etc.
The English noun 'anarchy' comes from the Ancient Greek 'anarchía', meaning without laws or governance, or literally 'not ruled'.
Perhaps this is the word you're looking for?
A similar term, in Latin: terra incognita (see e. g. Merriam-Webster Dictionary) (Also from the dcty: plural ter·rae in·cog·ni·tae \ˈter-ˌī-ˌin-ˌkäg-ˈnē-ˌtī, -in-ˈkäg-nə-ˌtī\ : unknown territory : an unexplored country or field of knowledge)