Jul 23, 2010

UNPO Welcomes ICJ Ruling on the Independence of Kosova

On the 22/07/2010 the International Court of Justice ruled that the independence of Kosova did not violate international law. UNPO would like to express its delight and support for yesterdays ruling, welcoming the decision made by the judges and urging all parties involved to respect the ICJ’s decision

The court rejected Serbia's claim on Thursday that Kosova violated the international law on territorial integrity when it unilaterally declared its independence. The court's opinion was different. The president of the International Court of Justice Hisashi Owada said international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence."

Today's ruling on Kosova clearly says that independence of a region from a state can be legal and that Kosova's right of self-determination takes precedence over Serbia's claim of territorial integrity.

Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament have welcomed the non-binding ruling from the International Court of Justice today in The Hague that Kosova's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 was not illegal under international law

Annemie Neyts (Open-VLD, Belgium), ALDE group spokesperson on foreign affairs welcomed the decision of the judges, though it was not unanimous:

"This decision will help bring more clarity and certainty to the region. The European Union's new High Representative should now encourage those Member States who have not yet formally recognised Kosovo to do so and then work with Serbia to facilitate a more constructive approach to the dispute in the broader context of deeper EU relations."

Jelko Kacin (LDS, Slovenia), Parliament's standing rapporteur on EU-Serbia and Vice-chairman of the EP Delegation to South-East Europe relations commented:

“ICJ's advisory opinion must not remain a moment in the history of troubled relations between Belgrade and Pristina.”

“Today's advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Kosovo's independence brings about new and different challenges. It should mark a new beginning of advanced relations between Belgrade and Pristina and a genuine turnabout towards friendly dialogue”, stated Jelko Kacin.

The United States also welcomed the Court’s ruling with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton offering important political support.

“The International Court of Justice today issued its advisory opinion and decisively agreed with the longstanding view of the United States that Kosovo’s declaration of independence is in accordance with international law. This is the view we set forth in the briefs we submitted to the Court and in the oral proceedings that it held last December. Kosovo is an independent state and its territory is inviolable.
We call on all states to move beyond the issue of Kosovo’s status and engage constructively in support of peace and stability in the Balkans, and we call on those states that have not yet done so to recognize Kosovo.”

UNPO hopes that today's ruling makes the peace agreements in other disputed locations closer to reality, with the leaders of those regions looking at the matter in a way that brings peace and stability for the near future.