Thursday, July 22, 2010

International Court of Justice - Kosovo can say what it wants

I have not read the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice today regarding the legality of the Kosovar declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, but will.  However, from the bits that I have read, it seems that the old saying "be careful what you ask for" really applies to this opinion.

Distilled, it seems the court opined that the declaration of independence by Kosovo was not illegal under international law.  This is a punt, it seems to me. Anyone can declare independence with impunity. It is not quite the same as shouting "fire" in a packed theater, but the court essentially affirmed the right to say whatever you want, to a point.  From what can be gleaned from the BBC reports, the opinion never stated that the secession was legal.  For what it is worth, I think that it is, but we can get into that at another time.

The ultimate result will be how this opinion will be interpreted by, say, South Ossetia, Abkhasia, the Basque region of France and Spain, Chechnya, Russia, France, Spain and Georgia - to name a few.  After I have had the chance to actually read the opinion, there will be additional analysis.  For the time being, I can positively guaranty that Prishtina will be celebrating and Belgrade will pout.

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