Ruling likely to trigger further recognitions of former Serbian province
Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008 did not violate international law, the International Court of Justice in The Hague said today (22 July) in a non-binding opinion.
The ruling was unexpected in its clarity. It had been requested by the United Nations General Assembly following a demand by Serbia.
Hisashi Owada, the court’s president, said that there was “no applicable prohibition” of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. The court therefore concluded that the declaration of independence “did not violate general international law”, he said.
Boris Tadić, Serbia’s president, said before today’s announcement that a ruling in favour of Kosovo would set a dangerous precedent. “If the International Court of Justice sets a new principle, it would trigger a process that would create several new countries and destabilise numerous regions in the world,” he said. According to diplomats, the Serbian government was informed of the ruling yesterday.
Sixty-nine countries have recognised Kosovo, including all EU member states bar Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
The ruling is likely to prompt additional recognitions at the next UN General Assembly, which starts in New York in September. The five EU member states that have not recognised Kosovo are unlikely to be swayed by it.
The ICJ is the highest judicial authority of the United Nations. The ruling delivered today was an advisory opinion that is not legally binding on UN member states. It was the first-ever opinion by the court for which all five permanent members of the UN Security Council gave legal presentations – China and Russia in favour of Serbia’s position, France, the UK and the US in favour of Kosovo’s stance.

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Kosovo’s independence is legal, court finds

Ruling likely to trigger further recognitions of former Serbian province
Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008 did not violate international law, the International Court of Justice in The Hague said today (22 July) in a non-binding opinion.
The ruling was unexpected in its clarity. It had been requested by the United Nations General Assembly following a demand by Serbia.
Hisashi Owada, the court’s president, said that there was “no applicable prohibition” of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. The court therefore concluded that the declaration of independence “did not violate general international law”, he said.
Boris Tadić, Serbia’s president, said before today’s announcement that a ruling in favour of Kosovo would set a dangerous precedent. “If the International Court of Justice sets a new principle, it would trigger a process that would create several new countries and destabilise numerous regions in the world,” he said. According to diplomats, the Serbian government was informed of the ruling yesterday.
Sixty-nine countries have recognised Kosovo, including all EU member states bar Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
The ruling is likely to prompt additional recognitions at the next UN General Assembly, which starts in New York in September. The five EU member states that have not recognised Kosovo are unlikely to be swayed by it.
The ICJ is the highest judicial authority of the United Nations. The ruling delivered today was an advisory opinion that is not legally binding on UN member states. It was the first-ever opinion by the court for which all five permanent members of the UN Security Council gave legal presentations – China and Russia in favour of Serbia’s position, France, the UK and the US in favour of Kosovo’s stance.

Read the article on European Voice

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