Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Court Compromises on Kosovo

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Court Compromises on Kosovo

Article excerpt

In late 2008, the United Nations General Assembly voted to ask the International Court of Justice the following question: "Is the independence of Kosovo in accordance with international law?" Today, the ICJ answered: Yes, it is. This stamp of approval for the unilateral declaration of self-sovereignty by this one-time province of Serbia could have profound implications on other separatist/secessionist movements around the worldnotably the Palestinians'.

Or it may not.

Earlier this year, Milena Miletic laid out the possibilities in Tablet Magazine: "The first would be for the court to state that the declared independence of Kosovo violates international law," Miletic explained. "The second would be for the court to rule in favor of Kosovo's independence. The third and most widely expected outcome is for the court to issue an opinion each party can interpret as it pleases, a result unlikely to increase international stability."

The ICJ appears to have chosen Option 3. Writes the Times: "Legal experts emphasized that while the court had ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence was legal, it had scrupulously avoided saying that the state of Kosovo was legal under international law, a narrow and carefully calibrated compromise."

What does this mean for the Palestinians?

Observers on all sides of the Mideast conflict have seen resonances between the struggle of Kosovo, whose majority-Albanian population has centuries-old grievances against the Serbs to the north, and that of the Palestinians living on Israeli-controlled land. …

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