Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Canada and Russia exchange snarky tweets

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

Europe

Pristina claims "irreversible" independence from Serbia

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-02

In front of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Serbia accused Kosovo of illegal secession, while Kosovo claimed its 2008 declaration of independence was "irreversible". The ICJ will give its non-binding decision within a year.

REUTERS - Kosovo told the world court on Tuesday that its 2008 declaration of independence was irreversible, arguing against Serbia’s claims that the act was a "flagrant violation" of its territorial integrity.

At the start of U.N. hearings examining the legality of the move, Serbian ambassador to France Dusan Batakovic told a 15-judge panel he hoped for a ruling that would provide scope for talks with Kosovo that would prevent a full break from Serbia and contribute to "peace and stability".

"Kosovo is the historic cradle of Serbia and ... one of the essential pillars of its identity," Batakovic said.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is holding the hearings at Serbia’s request a decade after NATO bombing ended a two-year war between Serbia and ethnic Kosovo Albanians. The court is expected to give its advisory opinion within a year.

Kosovo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Skender Hyseni, speaking after Serbia, argued Kosovo’s independence was already recognised by 63 other nations and it was already functioning as an independent republic with a constitution and elections.

"Kosovo’s independence is irreversible and that will remain the case, not only for the sake of Kosovo, but also for the sake of sustainable regional peace and security," he told the court.

Serbian officials say they want to see Kosovo as the country’s southern province with wide autonomy, something Pristina rejected in 2006-07 U.N.-sponsored talks.

The United States and most other Western states recognised Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia rejected it, as did its ally Russia.

Malcolm Shaw, a lawyer representing Serbia, warned the court that its ruling is being watched with "great apprehension" by other states also facing separatist pressures.

"If on Earth there was to be a single territory where secession would not be permitted, it would be Kosovo," said Marcelo Kohen, another lawyer representing Serbia.

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Rame Manaj told Reuters on Monday that Kosovo would never again become a part of Serbia.

"Serbia deported half the population of Kosovo, killed and massacred more than 12,000 people ... and because of all that we declared independence," Manaj said.


Pivotal moment

Judges at the ICJ, the U.N.’s highest judicial body, will hear statements from 29 other nations over eight more days, with key testimony from Spain, the United States and Russia expected on Dec. 8.

The panel’s decision is non-binding but will be closely watched by states with regions seeking autonomy.

Spain, which is grappling with its own separatist movements, has already said it will not recognise an independent Kosovo.

The argument over Kosovo is a legacy of the Balkan wars resulting from the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

Separatist Kosovo Albanians triggered a brutal crackdown by the Yugoslav army and police in the late 1990s, which ended after a 78-day NATO bombing campaign.

The U.N. Security Council, noting a "grave humanitarian situation", adopted Resolution 1244 in 1999 to install an U.N.  administration in Kosovo and a NATO-monitored ceasefire.

Since then some two million Albanians and 120,000 Serbs have lived separately in Kosovo, deeply suspicious and occasionally hostile to each other.

Observers say a ruling at the ICJ in Kosovo’s favour would lead more countries to recognise its independence, while an adverse opinion could push it into negotiating a settlement with Serbia.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic noted this was the "first time in history" that Serbia has sought to resolve an issue of a province declaring autonomy peacefully in a court of law.

"Today was a good day for the Balkans," Jeremic said.

 

Date created : 2009-12-02

  • INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE

    Kosovo independence a threat to world order, Serbs tell ICJ

    Read more

  • KOSOVO

    Kosovo's first vote since independence is seen as test for democracy

    Read more

COMMENT(S)