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Kosovo independence ruling

The International Court of Justice has ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008 was not a breach of international law.

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) said:

'While this ruling is undoubtedly an important victory for Kosovo and its supporters, in reality the Court has not said that Kosovo's independence as such is legal. It has said that its declaration of independence was not illegal. There is an important difference between the two points.

'While it seems certain that more countries will now recognise Kosovo, perhaps even some of the EU states that have so far refused, there will still be some countries that will refuse to do so on the grounds that it would legitimise an act of secession. This bloc of states is likely to include Russia and China. This will almost certainly mean that Kosovo's membership of the UN will remain blocked.

'In other words, the legal route has been tried and failed to provide a definitive answer. A political solution to Kosovo has still to be found.'

The International Court of Justice made its ruling on Thursday 22 July, 2010.

23 July 2010

For more information

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