How Will UN Court Ruling on Kosovo Affect Other Separatist Movements?

July 24, 2010


In February of two thousand eight, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. Now the top United Nations court says Kosovo’s declaration was legal. Hisashi Owada, president of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, read the opinion.

HISASHI OWADA: “The court considers that general international law contains no applicable prohibition on declarations of independence.”

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni called the ruling on Thursday great news, and not just for Kosovo.

SKENDER HYSENI: “This is a great news for the peace and stability in the region of western Balkans. This is a great news for Europe.”

Serbia had asked the court for its opinion. Now Serbia is sending diplomats to fifty-five countries. Their job: try to block efforts by Kosovo to gain further recognition.

Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic says the ruling will not change his country’s position.

VUK JEREMIC: “Serbia will never under any circumstances recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of the so-called Republic of Kosovo.”

Ian Bancroft is the co-founder of TransConflict, a humanitarian organization working in the western Balkans. Speaking from Belgrade, he said the ruling sends a message about international law.

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