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Kosovo’s independence is legal, UN court rules

Decision in favour of Kosovo’s independence could have far-reaching implications for other separatist movements

HAGUE (Somalilandpress) — Kosovo‘s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 did not violate international law, the international court of justice (ICJ) said today in a groundbreaking ruling that could have far-reaching implications for separatist movements around the world, as well as for Belgrade’s stalled EU membership talks.

The long-awaited ruling – which the court took up after a complaint to the UN from Serbia – is now likely to lead to more countries recognising Kosovo’s independence and move Pristina closer to entry into the UN. At present, Kosovo’s statehood is backed by 69 countries but it requires more than 100 before it can join the UN.

Announcing the decision, the court of justice president, Hisashi Owada, said international law contains no “prohibition on declarations of independence”.

Although both Belgrade and Pristina had said they were confident of a ruling in their favour, speculation began to emerge a few hours before today’s announcement in the Hague that the decision – which is not legally binding – had gone Kosovo’s way.

Prior to the judgment, the US vice-president, Joe Biden, had made it clear that the US would not contemplate a retreat from Kosovo’s newly independent status.

Key considerations that the UN’s top court examined – arising out of dozens of submissions by UN member states as well as by Kosovo’s own leadership – have focused on issues of sovereignty, the slim volume of precedent in international law, and how formerly large states such as the USSR broke up along administrative borders.
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Serbia has continued to demand Kosovo be returned, arguing it has been the cradle of their civilisation and national identity since 1389, when a Christian army led by Serbian prince Lazar lost an epic battle to invading Ottoman forces.

The ruling is expected to have profound ramifications on the wider international stage, bolstering demands for recognition by territories as diverse as Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria.

The ICJ’s ruling is not, however, expected to have an immediate impact on the situation on the ground in Kosovo, where a small area with a Serb majority has itself split away around the north of the town of Mitrovica, which has about 100,000 residents. That deadlock has sometimes erupted into violence, despite intense international efforts, with Serbs and Kosovans running their own areas.

Kosovo sparked sharp debate worldwide when it seceded from Serbia in 2008, following the bloody 1998-99 war and almost a decade of international administration. The 1998-99 war, triggered by a brutal crackdown by Serb forces against Kosovo’s separatist ethnic Albanians, left about 10,000 ethnic Albanians dead before ending after a 78-day Nato bombing campaign. Hundreds of Serbs were also killed in retaliatory attacks.

Today’s ruling will reinforce Kosovo’s resistance to any kind of renegotiation – particularly over the status of the Serb majority areas in the north.

Kosovo’s foreign minister, Skender Hyseni, said before the ruling that reopening negotiations was “inconceivable”.

Speaking yesterday, the Serbian foreign minister, Vuk Jeremic, had warned that even in the event of a ruling against it, Belgrade would not be ready to give up its claim on Kosovo.

“Serbia will not change its position regarding Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence and necessity of a compromise,” he said. “Our fight for such a solution will probably be long and difficult, but we will not give up.”

Jeremic, who was in The Hague for the ruling, had said earlier that he expected the decision to vindicate Serbia, which would lead to new negotiations on both sides.

A US state department legal adviser, Harold Koh, said: “Serbia seeks an opinion by this court that would turn back time … [and] undermine the progress and stability that Kosovo’s declaration has brought to the region.”Leading the other side of the argument is Serbia’s traditional ally Russia, which has fought against its own separatist movement in Chechnya. Moscow has demanded Kosovo’s independence be annulled, and last year was joined in its opposition by Spain and China, each also facing major secessionist movements.

Photo: Albanians ride past a banner that reads “Free Kosovo” in Tirana (Hektor Pustina/AP).

By Peter Beaumont

Source: The Guardian | Thursday, 22 July 2010

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Somalilandpress:

What could the ruling mean for Somaliland?

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  • Mustafa

    Regardless of the ruling, Somaliland's quest is both legal and moral. This annoucement will mean a lot for Somaliland. First we should congratulate Kosovo because now it has opened the gate for nations like ours. This is very good news and it couldnt have came a better time, time the world is focusing on Somaliland and its elections.

    Somaliland will join the rest.

    Congratulations Kosovo!!!!!!!!! Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • guuleed

    This decision of international court of justice granted that somaliland's sovernity is undisbuted and cannot be claimed by any.

    Congratulations Kosovo.

  • hassan

    i think its a big mistake that american are doing, i mean the bilateral relationship with russia. nothing against somaliland.
    legaly somalialnd should be recognize but this the anglosaxon empire we dealing with. just remember there no friends for somaliland….they just show it again.
    so lets forget this UN seat and focus on developing our country.

  • thedarwiishboy

    keep dreaming, deal with sool, sanaag, and cayn are NOT part of ur fake country.

    long live the people in sool, sanaag, and cayn we are part of somalia and will always be part of somalia:)

  • Caynaanshe

    What amazes me is how strong they believe in this so called Somaliland which is on e SNM agenda.

    I would advice my SSC and Maakhir to really join in forces and defeat this one tribe once and for all. I would advice Maakhir and SSC to protect their lands as it is the wealthiest part of Northern Somalia. Also to use this resources to defeat the Bugland and SNMland.

    • Commando

      In your dream my friend, Somaliland is here to stay and it is invicible and cannot be defeated. If any entity is tribal it the two entity which you mentioned are based on tribe and they are no-exitent so called maakhiri which is warsangeli and the so called ssc which is dulbahante which does not exist apart from always engaging in futile and endless meeting. what are they going to defeat if they are always conducting meetings (weligin shira wataan shirar kuwalanten)

  • Mohamed

    Hey Folks,

    you folks again, SSc and Maakhir??? Lets see whats the meanings of
    SSc and Maakhir ??? Sool Sanaag and Cayn of Burao(Togdheer.
    Sool and Sanaag are two Counties(laba Gobol). Cayn is district city
    under Burao(Togdheer County). For Sool and Sanaag, the Isaaks are
    the Majority and Hartis the Minority. Cayn district under Burao(tog) is
    purely all Isaaks. Besides, the Harti Majority are pro Somaliland.
    Recent elections are testament evidences witnessed by international
    observers from many countries. Somaliland is not only for the Isaaks,
    it jointly belongs to all the Somalilanders, and the good majorities are
    firmly and peacefully working together protecting their Somaliland
    Sovereignty in ways you will have no foul play ground.
    How the hypocrites will break the agreements bonds and treaties of
    Burao & Borama, ahad Allayyy iyo ahad Rasuul ciyaar ma galoh.
    Cheers.

  • Mohamed

    The Somaliland History is entirely different than what the Article is talking about. Somaliland has a clear unambiguous historical background significance
    before and after it joined into union with Somalia. Somaliland and Somalia
    were both two De jure entities before they effected voluntary union.
    I would invite if any body could tell me if that Union which politically failed, if there are any formal manifesto documentary testifying evidence is available, and
    if the answer is yes, who has them, Somalia or Somaliland???
    Scholars, Historians, your input is helpful and appreciated.

  • Borama

    I am from Zeila and so disgusted by your non stop non sense. Siyad Barre was defeated long time ago. Go to school and learnSool, Sanaag and Cayn, what a lunatic liars. Siyad Barre remnants stop the non sense. There is no region which is yours, besides you can't handle to run a village. Sool is a diverse place, Isaaq, Fiqi Shinni, Gabooye and others live there, Sanaag is mainly inhabited by Isaaq, the extreme eastern parts near the border with the former Somalia is inhabited by Warsangale, Cayn is majority Isaaq. SSC? what is this non sense, if you do not stop this non sense we will unleash the full power of Somaliland on you. You are Mooryaan. We know what you did in Mogadishu by killing our Hawiye brothers. Nobody wants you. The whole land iis Somaliland. if you don't want that just leave. There is nobody to spy for, there is no Siyad Barre. What a backward Mooryoon, empty talkers. You talk too much, Keep quite. Don't provoke the fury of all Somaliland and the Dir people. The world is controlled by Dir, Somaliland, Djibouti, Killin 5. Stop the tribalism, that will be your end. SSC, what a non sense illiterate minority Mooryaan claiming land which is not theirs. Speaking in your language, stop bad mouthing Isaak. Today you are not facing the mighty Isaaq only, be ready for Isaak, Gadaboursi, Issa, Akishi, Burzoog, Gurgure and all other Dir people. Not only that the Somaliland scouts will teach you an unforgettable lesson. To speak like you the western warriors are waiting in the wings and waiting one big mistake you make. You are reckless, weak an inrrelevant. I think you watched the lessons they thought to your uncle Siyad Bare, bugland and you.

  • nasir

    “Fears of new Tora Bora in Northern Somalia” AFP. it is interesting article must read, alshabab treats in sanaag and buuhoodle must be taken seriously.

  • mo_9

    ssc my *** i naver disrespect any one in my whole but my advise to those so call ssc is to stop what they doing nw cuz they just gana let their people down i mean it will Somaliland Forces about a week to clear but i think thats the right way distroyed with out giving them warning but if they dont listen they gana see wag1

  • Gobaad

    These guys above are a minority in fear who really don't have place to call home. The Hartis made enemies in both Somaliland and Somalia and still creating problems. And the fact is that waxay la'yihiin geed ay qabsadaan. Markaa afkay kaga hadhay.

    Somalia is exclusively Hawiye and Hawiye are in their own country. Somaliland is for Somalilanders and Somalilanders are in their own country. So anybody who doesn't want to live in peace among us should take a hike and join Puntland. Daabiyadaa yar baad leedihiine isugu taga!

  • Ahmed

    Lets first clear the air. There is no such thing as Maakhir. Also, what people refer to as Cayn – it doesn't exist it is a minute part of Somaliland's Togdheer region.

    So we are left with parts, and I emphasise PARTS, of Sool and Sanaag. This group of people calling themselves SSC is group of diaspora people who are looking for positions of power and are motivated by only this. They live abroad in comfortable western countries and do not represent the people. In reality they number an insignificant few.

    The people of Sool and Sanaag want peace as well as development above anything else. They are not looking for war or conflict. They do however, feel ignored and this is nothing but a cry for help. The Somaliland government should do more to integrate these regions economically, politically and socially.

  • 0gar

    This is an article about Kosovo, in Serbia, and in Europe. It is another continent, and another situation, is differend from Somaliland. Is no reason to find similarities with Somaliland, the Albanians was brought in Serbia just a few hundred years ago, by the Ottoman Empire who try to colonize the land with muslims, to contra balance the Serbian population who was christian. So the snag is spout now days. Of course the Albanians need equal rights with Serbians, but to give them independency will not solve the problems. Inside Kosovo are many settlements formated entirely from Serbians, so giving the Kosovo independency toward Belgrade (the Capital of Serbia) for the only reason – the ethnic origin of majority population from that region, it is logic the next step will be to to give independence for the serbian villages within Kosovo toward Priština (the Capital of Kosovo). This situation will continue indefinitely.

  • Somebody

    The only thing relevant with Kosovo and Somaliland is that Somalia recognized Kosovo. Perhaps the Serbs should make their move and recognize Somaliland, no?

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