Thursday, July 22, 2010

International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled Kosova’s Declaration of Independence did not violate international law

World court: Kosovo's independence was legal
Associated Press

Posted on July 22, 2010 at 9:04 AM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The United Nations' highest court says Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia did not break international law.

The nonbinding opinion sets the stage for a renewed push by Kosovo for further international recognition of its independence.

Reading the opinion Thursday, International Court of Justice President Hisashi Owada said international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence."

"International law does not have an active provision that limits independence declarations, therefore Kosovo's declaration of independence is not in breach of international law," the court president, Hisashi Owada of Japan, said.

The top UN court stated that it focused on the specific question received from the UN General Assembly, and did not discuss the right to self-determination or secession.

The judge also said that the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which ended the war in Kosovo in 1999, and which Belgrade sees as a guarantee of the country's territorial integrity, contained no arguments to prevent the unilateral proclamation, as its purpose was to establish a temporary administration, without intent to decide on Kosovo's final status.

It was also announced that ten out of 14 judges voted in favor of the ruling.

The opinion is based on the UN General Assembly’s demand submitted on October 2008 after a resolution was adopted to forward the question to the ICJ, on Serbia's demand.

Officials from Belgrade and Priština were in attendance, along with ambassadors from all the countries that participated in the public debate of the issue.

While the advisory opinion is not binding for states, experts believe it would carry "great legal, political, and moral weight".

Kosovo sparked sharp debate worldwide when it seceded from Serbia in 2008, following a bloody 1998-99 war and nearly a decade of international administration.

Kosovo's statehood has been recognized by 69 countries, including the United States and most European Union nations. Serbia and Russia lead a handful of others in staunchly condemning it.


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Anonymous said...

The saga is over! Kosova can now grow and prosper in peace.

Anonymous said...

Legal experts said that while the International Court of Justice had ruled that Kosovo’s declaration of independence was legal, it had avoided saying that the state of Kosovo was legal under international law, a narrow and carefully calibrated compromise that they said could allow both sides to declare victory in a dispute that remains raw even 11 years after the war there.

Anonymous said...

Analysts say that the legal legitimacy conferred on the independence declaration by the court could have profound consequences for global geopolitics by potentially being seized upon by secessionist movements in places as diverse as northern Cyprus, Somaliland, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria.

Anonymous said...

Legal experts stressed that the court’s studious avoidance of ruling on the legal status of Kosovo as a state had been calculated to avoid encouraging nationalist movements and left the issue of a territory’s independence at the discretion of the countries that chose to recognize it.

Anonymous said...

It is over!!!!
Now, Kosova must move forward in all aspects of its political and economic development, while Serbia, as usual, will whine and complain regarding the international court’s decision. Kosava needed this kind of international recognition, and they got! The decision gave Kosavoa a complete international, independent state legitimacy; consequently, enabling many countries to recognize Kosava as a legitimate sovereign state. Congratulations!!!

Anonymous said...

The five EU states that have not recognised Kosovo’s independence – Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus – suggested that the World Court ruling would have no effect on their position, as did Russia and China. Those countries fear separatism on their own territory, as do many other nations that looked askance at the court’s non-binding, advisory verdict.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely unfortunate that the day after the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling that Kosovo’s declaration of independence was not illegal in international law, the county’s central bank governor should be arrested for corruption.

It seems a case of one step forward and one backward — possibly two backward because the scale of corruption is probably a greater danger to Kosovo’s future, in particular membership of the European Union, than the issue of political legitimacy. The latter is a reality that is not going to change. Kosovo is never again going to be part of Serbia — and Belgrade has to come to terms with that.

The brightest vision for Kosovo and Serbia is that both become members of the EU — partners together prospering in a bigger whole. That is what most Kosovars and Serbs want, likewise most members of the EU. Only a few days ago, the desire to embrace Kosovo was expressed in the European Parliament’s call on all EU member states to recognize its independence. But that call shows that not everyone is of like mind. Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia side with Serbia, taking the view that independence cannot be seized but has to be agreed by both Kosovars and Serbs.

With the court ruling, the five EU members now have no legal reason to refuse to recognize Kosovo’s independence and should do so. Unfortunately, they have their own agendas. The vision of Basques and Catalans following the Kosovan lead, unilaterally declaring independence and being recognized by other countries, frightens Spain. Cyprus has similar fears over the implications for northern Cyprus, as does Greece. (The ICJ ruling would seem, by extension, in fact to back the Turkish Cypriots’ claim to independence and could well prove to be a secessionists’ charter the world over).

Spain and Slovakia may change their stand. Cyprus, Greece and Romania are unlikely to. Without their approval, Kosovo has no chance of EU membership. The 27 members have to be unanimous on any other state being allowed to join.

For that reason, Pristina has to do a deal with Belgrade. It still has an effective block on the Kosovars’ future. It is not just a matter of EU membership. Russia and China also side with Serbia and will veto Kosovo’s membership of the UN. They will only change their mind if there is a deal between Belgrade and Pristina.

That may not be so long in coming. Serbia also wants to join the EU and knows that, for it too, a deal is the price of membership. Its rejection of the ICJ ruling need not be taken too seriously. It is a token gesture to Serb nationalists. There is a mood of realism in Belgrade that Kosovo has gone and will not be part of Serbia again. What it is looking for is some form of compromise on northern Kosovo where Serbs remain the majority and where there is still violence. Sort that out and there is probably a deal to be done.

Yet that may not be enough for Kosovo. The scale of corruption threatens its EU hopes. It is a disaster that despite the sacrifices made by its people in their struggle for independence, it has become the most corrupt place in Europe (although far from the only one). The EU is not going to allow it in while that remains so.

Thus while it is impossible to see Kosovo become a EU member while Serbia remains outside, its application could be blocked because of corruption while Serbia is allowed to join. That would be a cruel irony.

Anonymous said...

It may come to this:

"There is a mood of realism in Belgrade that Kosovo has gone and will not be part of Serbia again. What it is looking for is some form of compromise on northern Kosovo where Serbs remain the majority and where there is still violence. Sort that out and there is probably a deal to be done."

Anonymous said...

Suck on that Servia!

Anonymous said...

Pristina streets were almost empty on Thursday (July 22nd) afternoon, with people jammed instead into coffee bars to watch Hisashi Owada, the presiding judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), announce its ruling on the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence.

"The court considers that general international law contains no applicable prohibition on declarations of independence," Owada read. "Accordingly, it concludes that the declaration of independence of the 17th of February 2008 did not violate general international law."

His words triggered celebrations reminiscent of Independence Day in 2008. In Pristina, people drove around with the flags of Kosovo, the US, Albania and the EU sticking out of their windows.

Landrit Kusari, a driver, left work for awhile to watch it. "I didn't expect it to be different; I feel much more confident after that," he told SETimes.

Shopkeeper Xhemajl Rashiti stood in front of the Grand Hotel, a communist era symbol, says now it's time to concentrate on building the young country.

"Now, after independence, we should make the state properly," he said.

According to university professor Kujtim Kerveshi, a specialist in international law and EU issues, the court's advisory opinion "has great importance in opening the perspective of Kosovo towards future integration, which can be achieved only through more recognitions."

Besim Abazi, a journalist and a professor in Pristina, said political leaders use the momentum to strengthen Kosovo's efforts to enter important international groups and agencies.

"There is 'momentum' for the Serb political leadership as well, which should get oriented towards Euro-Atlantic integration and opening a new reconciliation period with Kosovo," he told SETimes.

"Our eyes should focus on [Serb-dominated] northern Kosovo," he added, noting there will be new talks between Pristina and Belgrade.

Another professor, Ulpiana Lama, said the ICJ session proved once again the sui generis character of the Kosovo case.

"It is a clear defeat for the government of Serbia and a sign that it should change its course. One thing is certain: the objective to get 30 to 40 new recognitions in the next two months is achievable. Kosovo is consolidating its position in the international arena," Lama said.

Kosovo's leaders, meanwhile, hailed what they described as a "blessed day" for the country and its people.

President Fatmir Sejdiu said the ruling "finally removes all the dilemmas that countries which have not recognised Kosovo yet might have had".

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci got the news in the United States, where he met with Vice-President Joe Biden. Thaci said the ruling acknowledged Kosovo's legal right to statehood.

"Kosovo functions today and will continue to function as a state because it has the blessing of international law, which was confirmed," he said.

Shendeti said...

Ky ishte fundi i Serbise!
Dita me te mira do te vine per ne si komb.