ICJ Kosovo

July 22, 2010 by staff 

ICJ KosovoICJ Kosovo: (Voice of America) — The top United Nations court, said the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo from Serbia in 2008 is consistent with international law.

This non-binding opinion of the International Court of Justice, issued on Thursday in The Hague sparked street celebrations in the Kosovo capital, Pristina. In Washington, the visit of Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said the ruling “the best possible response for the entire world.”

U.S. Department of State also praised the decision, saying it is time for Europe to unite behind a common future. ”

10-4 The court’s decision is expected to clear the way for more countries to extend formal recognition to the government in Pristina.

Sixty-nine countries including the United States and more than 20 European Union governments have recognized the declaration. Serbia and traditional ally of Russia – a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN – have led opposition to it.

The Belgrade government requested the 15-member tribunal to rule on the statement, and argued last year, undermining the world order. Serbian lawyers told the court the statement that, if confirmed, would set a dangerous precedent and encourage separatist movements elsewhere in the world.

However, the ICJ President Hisashi Owada, who read the sentence aloud long on Thursday, said international law does not contain prohibitions against such statements.

Hours after Thursday’s ruling, the Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic warned of tough time ahead, and said his country will continue battling for control of its former province through peaceful means.

Prior to sentencing, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said U.S. support for the independence of Kosovo, in telephone conversations with Serbian President Boris Tadic. Biden urged the Serbian government to work constructively to solve practical problems in Kosovo. He said such cooperation to improve the lives of people in Kosovo, Balkans, Serbia and more.

Kosovo was placed under UN supervision in 1999 after a bombing campaign of the 78-day NATO halted a deadly crackdown by Belgrade, in what was then a Serbian province. Pristina government formally declared its independence on February 17, 2008.

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