The Battlefields of Kosovo: A Struggle between the Right to Secession and International Stability (Der Kosovo im Spannungsfeld Zwischen Sezessionsrecht und Internationaler Stabilität)
JURA (im Erscheinen), 2011
11 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2011 Last revised: 27 Jun 2011
Date Written: January 1, 2011
Upon an initiative of Serbia the ICJ presented its advisory opinion on the “Accordance of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo with International Law” in July 2010. According to the opinion, the declaration of independence did not violate general international law. However, some of the main questions were left unanswered by the ICJ: Does Kosovo fulfill the criteria of statehood? Was its secession from Serbia justified by international law? Are other states entitled to recognize Kosovo as a state?
The paper discusses these remaining questions. We argue that Kosovo did not, when declaring its independence in 2008, fulfill the criteria of statehood. However, provided that Kosovo did have a right to secession from Serbia stemming from severe violations of human rights in the past, other states have not violated international law by recognizing it as a state. Granting recognition to Kosovo and thereby supporting its development towards a sovereign state may be a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia. Recognition of Kosovo is justified, however, once the conflict between the territorial integrity of an existing state and the right to self-determination of a people wishing to secede is resolved in favour of the latter.
Note: Downloadable document is in German.
Keywords: Kosovo, Declaration of Independence, Secession, Recognition, International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion, Right to Self-Determination
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation