of Justice has given an unbinding ruling on Thursday saying Kosovo’s unilateral secession from Serbia as legal, dealing a major blow to the issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity of many nations around the world.

A Kosovo Albanian woman walks past a graffiti in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, December 9, 2007.

The UN court president, Hisashi Owada, said international law does not contain any „prohibition on declarations of independence”. The opinion was arrived at after a 10-4 vote by court judges.

Serbia, which considers Kosovo as its territory, moved the UN General Assembly which in turn sought the opinion of the world’s highest court on the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo.

Following NATO’s military intervention in 1999, Serbian forces withdrew from Kosovo, which witnessed bloody clashes forcing about 1.9 million ethnic Albanians suppressed by Serbian troops to seek independence.

, India, Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Bosnia. Some of these countries have sided with Serbia fearing any recognition to Kosovo may encourage separatists in their countries.

The court opinion was given based on the UN General Assembly’s request in October 2008 following a resolution to the effect. The reading of the opinion on Thursday was attended among others by officials from Belgrade and Priština and ambassadors from all the countries that participated in the debate of the issue.

, is unlikely to take strong measures over the verdict. „The first and foremost consideration for any democratic government in the world is the preservation of its own sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told the BBC earlier in the day.

Kosovo, on the other hand, enjoys the support of United States. US Vice-President

on Wednesday reaffirmed the United States’ full support for an independent Kosovo „whose future lies firmly within European and Euro-Atlantic institutions” in a statement after a meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Washington.

Russia, which opposed NATO intervention in 1999, fears that recognition of Kosovo could open a „Pandora’s box” of independence claims. Russia may even block recognition of Kosovo at the

, using its veto if necessary.

Essentially, the court’s advisory opinions are consultative in nature and no appeal can be made nor are they binding. Since 1946 the court has given 24 advisory opinions like the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, admission to UN membership, reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the

, territorial status of South-West Africa (Namibia) and Western Sahara.

A Kosovo Albanian woman walks past a graffiti in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, December 9, 2007.

Read the article on IBTimes United Kingdom

World Court says Kosovo’s independence legal

of Justice has given an unbinding ruling on Thursday saying Kosovo’s unilateral secession from Serbia as legal, dealing a major blow to the issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity of many nations around the world.

A Kosovo Albanian woman walks past a graffiti in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, December 9, 2007.

The UN court president, Hisashi Owada, said international law does not contain any „prohibition on declarations of independence”. The opinion was arrived at after a 10-4 vote by court judges.

Serbia, which considers Kosovo as its territory, moved the UN General Assembly which in turn sought the opinion of the world’s highest court on the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo.

Following NATO’s military intervention in 1999, Serbian forces withdrew from Kosovo, which witnessed bloody clashes forcing about 1.9 million ethnic Albanians suppressed by Serbian troops to seek independence.

, India, Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Bosnia. Some of these countries have sided with Serbia fearing any recognition to Kosovo may encourage separatists in their countries.

The court opinion was given based on the UN General Assembly’s request in October 2008 following a resolution to the effect. The reading of the opinion on Thursday was attended among others by officials from Belgrade and Priština and ambassadors from all the countries that participated in the debate of the issue.

, is unlikely to take strong measures over the verdict. „The first and foremost consideration for any democratic government in the world is the preservation of its own sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told the BBC earlier in the day.

Kosovo, on the other hand, enjoys the support of United States. US Vice-President

on Wednesday reaffirmed the United States’ full support for an independent Kosovo „whose future lies firmly within European and Euro-Atlantic institutions” in a statement after a meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Washington.

Russia, which opposed NATO intervention in 1999, fears that recognition of Kosovo could open a „Pandora’s box” of independence claims. Russia may even block recognition of Kosovo at the

, using its veto if necessary.

Essentially, the court’s advisory opinions are consultative in nature and no appeal can be made nor are they binding. Since 1946 the court has given 24 advisory opinions like the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, admission to UN membership, reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the

, territorial status of South-West Africa (Namibia) and Western Sahara.

A Kosovo Albanian woman walks past a graffiti in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, December 9, 2007.

Read the article on IBTimes United Kingdom

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