De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty

By Tozun Bahcheli; Barry Bartmann et al. | Go to book overview

4

Albanian and Serb rivalry in Kosovo

Realist and universalist perspectives on sovereignty

Vjeran Pavlakovic and Sabrina Petra Ramet

The people of Kosovo have a right to self-determination. They [enjoy] - just like the Croatians and the Slovenians did, and just like those in Bosnia who wanted to be not under Milošević's heel or the Serbians' heel, and just like the people of the United States had a right as we declared ourselves as in 1776, the right to dissolve the political bonds.

(US Representative Dana Rohrabacher) 1

…just imagine the outcry if, during our civil war, Great Britain would have invaded the North to 'punish' Abraham Lincoln for his militant defense of the Union. Kosovo is a part of Yugoslavia and Belgrade has every right to defend its national borders.

(Bill Hughes) 2

In an essay originally published in 1960, Hans Kelsen, the brilliant if controversial specialist in international law, held that international law and the laws of any given state cannot both be primary: one must take precedence over the other. 3 If, Kelsen argued, one posited the primacy of international law, then there can be no room for state sovereignty as such. 4 But if, on the other hand, one chooses to affirm the primacy of state sovereignty, then, for Kelsen, one must accept that this entails acceptance of the maxim '…that the state is not subject to a legal order superior to its own national law'. 5

Kelsen tried to resolve this dilemma by holding that the state's subscription to international law was voluntary; in this way he hoped to salvage the binding character of international law without sacrificing the concept of state sovereignty. But the difficulties do not end there. After all, the notion of popular (or national) sovereignty may be marshalled against that of state sovereignty. If the people are sovereign, or so Locke held, then it would follow that

…if a long train of Abuses, Prevarications, and Artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the People, and they cannot but feel, what they lie under, and see, whither they are going: 'tis not to be wonder'd, that they should then rouze themselves, and endeavour to put the rule into such hands, which may secure to them the ends for which Government was at first erected. 6

-74-

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De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Political Realities and Legal Anomalies 12
  • 2 - Republika Srpska 32
  • 3 - Montenegro and Serbia 52
  • 4 - Albanian and Serb Rivalry in Kosovo 74
  • 5 - From Frozen Conflict to Frozen Agreement 102
  • 6 - Chechnya 118
  • 7 - The Abkhazians 143
  • 8 - Under Turkey's Wings 164
  • 9 - Palestine 2003 187
  • 10 - Can Clans Form Nations? 210
  • 11 - Bougainville 232
  • Conclusion 245
  • Index 257
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