Thursday, July 22, 2010
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled today in an Advisory Opinion that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 did not violate international law. The U.N. General Assembly had asked the ICJ to give an Advisory Opinion on the legality of the independence declaration by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) of Kosovo.
By 10 votes to four, judges at the ICJ concluded that the declaration does not breach either general international law, a Security Council resolution from 1999 following the end of fighting in Kosovo, or the constitutional framework that was adopted by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on behalf of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). UNMIK was established after Western forces drove out Yugoslav forces amid inter-ethnic fighting in 1999. Ethnic Albanians outnumber ethnic Serbs and other minorities by about nine to one in Kosovo.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for dialogue between all sides in the wake of the ICJ advisory opinion. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, he “strongly encourages the parties to engage in a constructive dialogue… [and] urges all sides to avoid any steps that could be seen as provocative and derail the dialogue.” Mr. Ban will forward the opinion to the General Assembly, which will then determine how to proceed.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release)