Human Rights, Sovereignty and the Final Status of Kosovo

38 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2013

See all articles by Bartram Brown

Bartram Brown

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology

Date Written: 2005


Kosovar Albanians, as a minority within Serbia, and Kosovo Serbs, as a minority within Kosovo, have both suffered unacceptable mistreatment in recent years. This widespread misery has transformed the situation in Kosovo into a matter of international concern and Kosovo itself into a theatre of international involvement. The final political status of Kosovo is ultimately a human rights issue, and a just and viable solution must balance the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia with the human rights of Kosovar Albanians. At another level, the challenge is how best to achieve self-determination for Kosovar Albanians while ensuring the rights of other groups and minorities within Kosovo. This legal and political puzzle exemplifies the clash between the traditional state-centered rights associated with territorial sovereignty and more modern notions of universal human rights.

After offering a brief background on the situation in Kosovo, this Article will examine the historical development of the idea of self-determination and consider alternative forms of self-determination and potential paths to self-determination for Kosovo. This article will then offer a human rights-based perspective on final status and offer policy suggestions on how best to move toward a positive resolution of the issue.

Keywords: human rights, sovereignty, Kosovo, Serbia, Kosovar Albanians, international law, politics, self-determination, policy

JEL Classification: K30, K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Brown, Bartram, Human Rights, Sovereignty and the Final Status of Kosovo (2005). 80 Chicago-Kent Law Review 235 (2005). Available at SSRN:

Bartram Brown (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States

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