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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Serbia president asks UN General Assembly to call for ICJ ruling on Kosovo
Andrew Gilmore at 9:24 AM ET

[JURIST] Serbia submitted a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly [official website] Tuesday seeking an International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] advisory opinion on the legality of the unilaterally-proclaimed independence of Kosovo [JURIST news archive]. The draft resolution was presented following an address to the General Assembly by Serbian President Boris Tadic [official website; JURIST news archive]. The draft resolution and Tadic's address follow a letter to UN members from Tadic sent two weeks ago urging support for the Serbian ICJ advisory opinion request. In Tuesday's address [text, PDF], Tadic said:

Your vote in support of this resolution would serve to reaffirm another key international principle at stake: the right of any member State of the United Nations to pose a simple, elementary question - on a matter it considers vitally important - to the competent court. To vote against is in effect to vote to deny the right of any country—now or in the future—to seek judicial recourse through the UN system. To vote against means to accept that nothing could be done when secessionists in whichever part of the world proclaim the uniqueness of their cause, and claim exception to the universal scope of international law. Such an attitude could lead to the end of the UN system as we know it.
The UN News Centre has more.

Kosovo's constitution [text] went into effect this summer [JURIST report] despite Serbia's argument that the charter of the breakaway province was legally void. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's declaration of independence [text; JURIST report], and thus cannot recognize the country's constitution as a legal fact. Serbia's official stance is that Kosovo is in violation of the UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolution 1244 [PDF text], which reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Serbian state. The new state of Kosovo has been recognized by the US and most European states, but not by Russia, Serbia's closest ally.

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