At UN, Serbian leader places faith in legal solution to Kosovo issue

25 September 2009

Instead of resorting to violence, Serbia is seeking a legal opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence last year, the country’s leader told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate today.

In February 2008, Kosovo – where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and other minorities by about nine to one – declared its independence in a move rejected by Serbia, and the UN has remained neutral on the issue.

Last October, the Assembly voted to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a non-binding advisory opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

“Serbia will never, under any circumstances, implicitly or explicitly, recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of the ethnic-Albanian authorities of our southern province,” Serbian President Boris Tadić said at the debate today.

Rejecting violence as a solution, he stressed that his country has demanded that justice be delivered through legal means.

The case before the ICJ, which is expected to render a decision next year, is the first in which the Court is considering the legality of a secession attempt by an ethnic group from a United Nations Member State, Mr. Tadić said.

The ICJ’s decision will set a power precedent, he stressed. “The outcome will either strongly deter other separatist movements from attempting to secede, or produce a result that could encourage them to act in similar fashion.”


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UN World Court sets date for public hearings on Kosovo independence

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations’ principal judicial organ, announced today that it will hold public hearings starting on 1 December on the question of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence early last year.