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

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