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.
“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.”