Saturday, September 13, 2008

Serbian President Calls for ICJ Advisory Opinion on Kosovo

On Thursday, September 11, Serbian President Boris Tadic sent a letter to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly requesting that the General Assembly adopt a resolution asking that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) render an advisory opinion on the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence. President Tadic proposes that the Court answer the following question: "Was the unilateral independence declaration by the temporary self-government institutions in Kosovo in line with international law?"  Serbia has not recognized Kosovo's independence, believing that it is a violation of Serbia's territorial integrity as recognized by the UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolution 1244.  The United States and several European countries have recognized Serbia's independence, but Russia, a close ally of Serbia, has not.  Kosovo's neighboring states in the former Yugoslavia remain divided on the issue as well.

Under Article 65 of the ICJ Statute, the Court may give an advisory opinion on any legal question at the request of any body that is authorized to make such a request under the UN Charter.  Article 96 of the UN Charter authorizes the UN General Assembly to request advisory opinions.  In his letter to the General Assembly, President Tadic stated his belief that: "The impartial advisory opinion is considered to be the most deserving interpretation of the principles of international legal order. The opinion of the ICJ would significantly contribute to easing tensions created as a consequence of the unilateral declaration of the independence of Kosovo, it would prevent unfavorable developments in the region and facilitate efforts for agreement between all the sides involved.”  The UN General Assembly will begin its 63rd Session on Tuesday, September 16, at which time it will may whether to take up the request.


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