Coming up

Don't miss




Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more


Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more


Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more


Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more


Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more


Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more


Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more


French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more


Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more


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


    Kosovo independence a threat to world order, Serbs tell ICJ

    Read more


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

    Read more