Monday, December 6, 2010

Serbia’s Non-recognition of Kosovo’s Independence Sets New Precedence in International Law

On November 2, 2010, interim Kosovar President Jakub Krasniqi of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) dissolved the government through a vote of no confidence.1  Immediate elections were required to be held within 45 days of the vote – on December 12, 2010 – two months earlier than expected.2  Krasniqi announced that negotiations with Serbia will now be held after election.

Serbia and Kosovo were set to begin negotiations in the fall of this year on technical issues surrounding Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008. Kosovo fought for independence from Serbia in 1997 after years of suffering grave human rights abuses, alien subjugation, domination, and exploitation, only to acquire an interim government run by the United Nations (UN) in 1999.

When Kosovo declared independence in 2008, Serbia took the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) . In July, the ICJ ruled Kosovo’s independence in accordance with international law. Yet, Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo’s “unilateral declaration of independence.”

With these recent snap elections, opposition to compromises is removed. Without opposition, uncompromising issues fall on Serbia’s shoulders revealing Serbia’s attitude to humiliate and snub Kosovo by preventing independence. Kosovo’s reliance on Serbia’s mercy to allow independence sets new precedence in international law. This need for recognition redefines state sovereignty to require recognition from a mother country in cases of secession. 

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