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International Court of Justice to decide on Kosovo independence

The International Court of Justice is due to give its opinion on Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence on Thursday 22 July 2010.  

CIJ robesKosovo declared itself independent from Serbia in February 2008 and the Republic of Kosovo has since been recognised by sixty nine UN member states. In October 2008 Serbia requested the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the legality of Kosovo's declaration.  

Ahead of the decision Dr James Ker-Lindsay, Eurobank EFG Senior Research Fellow on the Politics of South East Europe at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) commented:

'The legality of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence is the most important case ever to come before the International Court of Justice. Indeed, for the first time ever, all five permanent members of the UN Security Council chose to participate in the Court's proceedings.

'The opinion of the Court could radically change the way we treat separatist groups in future. If it finds in favour of Kosovo the floodgates could be opened for a whole raft of new states to emerge. No one wants to see this happen.

'However, if it finds in Serbia's favour, supporters of Kosovo independence –  including Britain, France, Germany and the United States –  will be left in a very difficult position. If they reject the opinion or refuse to rescind their recognition, their credibility on the world stage will be severely damaged. How can they then call on others to respect international law when they don't themselves?

'There really is a huge amount riding on this case.'


 For more information

Sue Windebank, LSE press office, T: 020 7955 7060, E: s.windebank@lse.ac.uk