International Court of Justice rejected genocide claims by Croatia and Serbia against each other for crimes committed during a war in 1990’s. Lengthy process started by Croatia more than a decade and a half ago and alleged that Serbia and affiliated Serb forces in Croatia committed a genocide in 1991 in city of Vukovar and elswhere. Serbia later filled a counter-claim over the expulsion of more than 200,000 Serbs from Croatia during Operation “Storm” in late 1995. Each side is unsatisfied with ICJ ruling, but based on statements issued right after both government will accept it and learn how to live with it. Continue reading
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.
In last few days Serbian media are reporting that official Belgrade considers several options in effort to conclude Kosovo dispute. Speculations about Serbian intentions are rising in a days before International Court of Justice in Den Hague revels advisory opinion on Kosovo independence proclaimed in February of 2008. At this point they are considering possible split of Kosovo territory and exchange of several smaller territorial units in Kosovo; exchanged territories will include villages with Albanian or Serbian majority.
Belgrade’s newspaper Blic writes today that if Kosovo leaders accept this offer during upcoming negotiations, which would be held under sponsorship of U.S. & EU representatives, Serbian side would support Kosovo’s bid for seat in U.N. They are convinced that official Pristina will accept this concept because that’s one & possibly only way for Kosovo to become fully recognized state. According to Blic reports plan would consider following elements: North Kosovo territory with Serbian population majority would be returned under Belgrade’s control, all monasteries and other religious objects or properties of Serbian Orthodox Church would be considered as ex-territorial. Kosovo would get under his control Presevo Valley.
Both sides are lobbying for their own plan in international institutions, but U.S. and EU are too careful because they want to known opinion of ICJ on Kosovo self-proclaimed independence. After that later this year they will be able to present their views on final solution for this issue. ICJ is expected present advisory opinion on legality of Kosovo independence on July 22, but legal expert are sure that would happened in mid or late September. That will set a possible date for negotiations in December this year or January next year.
European Parliament voted yesterday on new declaring on Kosovo, 455 MP’s supported declaration which calls remaining state members to recognize Kosovo as independent state. Chairman of Foreign Affair Committee in Serbian Parliament, Drayoljub Micunovic, yesterday said that this declaration it’s presents new pressure on Belgrade from supporters of Kosovo independence.
On the other side Kosovo PM, Hashim Tachi, stand is that Kosovo sovereignty and territorial integrity is unquestionable, he also said that state status is “closed question”. “Political status of Kosovo is closed question. With Belgrade we can talk only about technical questions as we do that with other countries in region”, said Mr. Tachi.