ICJ back Kosovo’s independence, boost for secessionist movements

ICJ's central Courtroom

ICJ's central Courtroom

International Court of Justice as it was expected presented on Tuesday his nonbinding opinion on Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008. ICJ nonbinding opinion said that this declaration which was supported by U.S. and major EU member states didn’t break international law. Justice President Hisashi Owada said that international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence and therefore Kosovo’s declaration did not violate general international law.

As it was expected large number of reaction gets to the media during the day. The most interesting reactions come from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina which is only Balkan state who didn’t recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Bosnian Muslims and Croats are in favour of recognizing independent Kosovo but Bosnian Serbs are standing behind official Belgrade and his opinion that Kosovo never would become fully recognized state and request for Kosovo’s return under Serbian constitution.

“Bosnia will not be allowed to recognize the independence of Kosovo, regardless of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Their opinion is in any case encouraging the various movements in the world and that will be hard to stop after this opinion, to which I warned against earlier. Of course, this problem remains primarily Europe and it is very dangerous for the entire Western Balkans”, said Nebojsa Radmanovic Serbian member of Bosnian Presidency.

Presidency chairman Haris Silajdzic said that there was no casual connection between Bosnia and Kosovo. He also said that Bosnian sovereignty and territorial integrity is not in question adding that any opposite direction would be prevented.

“This is the result of a wrong policy, particularly the regime of Slobodan Milosevic and many years of repression in Kosovo. B&H didn’t guide such policy. On the contrary, she was the victim of such policies, including genocide”, said Mr. Silajdzic.

Croatian member of Presidency Zeljko Komsic said in his statement that hope that democratic Serbia would get new strength to turn to the future, not to deal with mania, mythology, Greater projects, but to only what is our future in this region, and this is democracy, EU, NATO, development and cooperation.

“I’m afraid that might happen to the last, aggressive offshoot of the Greater, Milosevic, politics Dobrica Cosic and circle around him, which we, unfortunately, we still have in Bosnia – sometimes more pronounced, sometimes less pronounced, will not get the message that was sent to the international institutions. I have no doubt that the whole region, if we behaved as a normal and responsible people, simply moving into a new era, and that the era of democracy, the era of Europe, NATO, cooperation and progress”, said Mr. Komsic.

Prime Minister of Republic of Srpska, smaller Bosnian entity with mainly Serbian population, Mr. Milorad Dodik said that he is disappointed with ICJ’s opinion. He also said that this opinion is continuation of legal violence against the Serbs and the Serbian state.

“This is a new and a slight underestimation of Serbia. New message to Serbs that the policy of force only has a success and that the legal policy of violence can be to legalize things that have so far been almost impossible – to tear off part of a state territory and that it is not contrary to international law”, said Mr. Dodik.

In other parts of the world reactions are also divided between those ones who are supporting Kosovo’s independence and Serbia’s request. Some commentators are sure that this decision would give a boost for several separatist movements all over the world including Quebec, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Globe and Mail columnist and former Canadian ambassador to Israel, Norman Spector, said on Tuesday that wouldn’t be surprising if we saw Quebec secessionists all over the media crowing about this decision.

“However, aside from the obvious differences between life in Québec today and the violence unleashed on that breakaway republic in the 1990s, the Court’s decision was actually quite narrow. True, by a 10-4 decision, the Court declared that international law contains no ‘prohibition on declarations of independence’ and therefore Kosovo’s declaration ‘did not violate general international law’. However, nothing in its decision requires international recognition of that declaration — for Kosovo, or for any other putative sovereign nation”, said Mr. Spector.


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