The International Court of Justice will discuss for 10 days on Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence · Serbia, which had called on the Court to give a consultative decision, argues the declaration infringes its territorial integrity · Kosovo replies it is an irreversible decision.
Kosovo still has a long way to go before consolidating its independence. The International Court of Justice, with headquarters in The Hague, is discussing these days whether Pristina's declaration of independence from February 17 2008 complies to international law. The debate, which is to take place after the Court acknowledged Serbia's determination to have a consultative decision on the matter, will go on until December 11.
Although the decision is not binding, the debate is of the utmost importance because it can affect the list of countries recognizing Kosovo's independence, which at present amounts to 63.
According to RFE/RL, the sessions are attended by Serbia, Kosovo and 29 petitioning countries, of which 15 have sided with Pristina and 14 with Belgrade. The supporters of Serbia censure the fact the declaration was unilateral, because that represents "a flagrant violation of Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity". Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has criticized western support to the new state by declaring it is an "immoral and illegal" behaviour.
Pristina and its allies argued that "Serbia lost its moral and legal right to govern Kosovo when the former Yugoslavia disintegrated and when Serbian forces launched ethnic-cleansing operations against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo during the 1990s." and added that "Kosovo's independence is a unique case that cannot set a precedent for other ethnic conflicts worldwide".