Equipo Nizkor
        Bookshop | Donate
Derechos | Equipo Nizkor       


Russia: ruling won't make Kosovo independence legal

Russia said on Thursday that a World Court ruling did not provide legal underpinning for Kosovo's independence from Serbia and said it would continue to lead opposition to Kosovo's quest for international recognition.

The World Court in The Hague made a non-binding ruling that Kosovo's unilateral secession from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law, prompting Kosovo to say that its independence had been confirmed by international law.

Russia's Foreign Ministry rejected that interpretation, saying that the World Court ruling merely said that the document declaring independence did not violate international law and made no ruling on Kosovo's right to secede.

"Our position on the non-recognition of Kosovo's independence remains unchanged," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"It is essential to note that the court gave an assessment of only the actual declaration, and specifically said it was not addressing the broader question of the right of Kosovo to secede from Serbia unilaterally," the statement said.

"In its conclusions the court did not express an opinion on the consequences of this declaration, in particular, on whether Kosovo is a state or on the legality of the recognition of the this region by a number of countries."

Russia, a historical ally of Serbia, has said it will keep Kosovo out of the United Nations and other world bodies where it has a veto.

"The legal debates about Kosovo's independence will continue," Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said in an interview broadcast on the Rossiya-24 news channel.

"We will not accept the splitting of a country that is a member of the United Nations. On principle we consider Serbia a unified whole," he said.

Russia has largely subdued a separatist Islamist insurgency in its province of Chechnya, but recognized Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states in 2008 after a five-day war with Tbilisi.

Only three other countries -- Nicaragua, Venezuela and the Pacific island of Nauru - have followed Russia in recognizing the regions, which are overwhelmingly dependent on Russia for security and economic support.

Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh welcomed Thursday's ruling. "The decision of the International Court once more confirms the right of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to self-rule," Interfax news agency quoted Bagapsh as saying.

"From a historic and legal point of view, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have much more right to independence than Kosovo."

Russia called for talks on Kosovo's future, but suggested that the United Nations rather than the World Court was the appropriate arbiter.

"We believe that the solution to the Kosovo problem is only possible through negotiations between the parties concerned on the basis of resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council, which, as the World Court pointed out, is the universally recognized international benchmark for legal settlement," the Foreign Ministry statement said.

[Source: By Conor Humphries, Reuters, Moscow, 22Jul10]

Tienda de Libros Radio Nizkor On-Line Donations

The Question of Kosovo
small logoThis document has been published on 12Apr13 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.