UN court says Kosovo independence is legal


Declaration of Independence in 2008
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Kosovo’s unilateral secession from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law, the World Court has said in a decision with implications for separatist movements everywhere.

The non-binding, but clear-cut ruling by the International Court of Justice is a major blow to Serbia and will complicate efforts to draw the former pariah ex-Yugoslav republic into the European Union.

It is likely to lead to more states following the United States, Britain and 67 other countries in recognizing ethnic-Albanian dominated Kosovo, which broke away after NATO intervened to end a brutal crackdown on separatism by Belgrade.

It may also embolden breakaway regions in countries ranging from India and Iraq to Serbia’s war-torn neighbor and fellow former Yugoslav republic Bosnia to seek more autonomy.

“The court considers that general international law contains no applicable prohibition of declaration of independence,” Judge Hisashi Owada, president of the ICJ, said in the clear majority ruling delivered in a cavernous hall at the Hague-based ICJ.

“Accordingly it concludes that the declaration of independence of the 17th of February 2008 did not violate general international law…”

News of the court’s decision prompted celebrations in the Kosovo capital Pristina, where people drove through the streets waving Kosovo, U.S. and British flags and shouting “USA, USA!.”

That last bit is scary enough on its own.

Meanwhile, I have to wonder about what depth was dedicated to discussion of ethnic minorities moving into a region – and then claiming it as their own? The history of Kosovo since WW2.

Albanians moved in and eventually became a regional majority and declared independence.

It’s the sort of politic tactic long used as a slander and fear in the United States. First against Mormons. Nowadays – realistically – against Mexicans. I have a few acquaintances who have dedicated their lives to reclaiming the Mexican state of Aztlan – which would include Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and southern California at a minimum.

Xenophobes on the American Right don’t miss a chance to bring it up every chance they have. And there are enough of those, lately.

It’s also cutting off your nose, etc., on the part of the U.S. government which applauds Kosovo – and whines to the heavens over Ossetia. Which is it to be: hypocrisy or a double standard?

2 thoughts on “UN court says Kosovo independence is legal

  1. Mr. Fusion says:

    For Kosovo’s sake, good for them. I disagree with the court’s decision, however. A country is sovereign and has the right to control the laws inside their borders. The UN intervened in Kosovo because of Bosnia just a few years earlier when the Serbs committed genocide against the Muslim inhabitants and were repeating it in Kosovo.

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