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Sunday, April 19, 2009

First EU Kosovo trial blocked by Serbian protesters
Lucas Tanglen at 10:11 AM ET

[JURIST] The government of Serbia [JURIST news archive] on Friday submitted [press release] its arguments against the legality of Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence [JURIST news archive] to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website; JURIST news archive]. Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic [official profile] said the government, in the almost 1,000 pages it submitted in the case [materials], argues that the claim of independence violated [press release] UN Security Council Resolution 1244 [text, PDF], which reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Serbian state, the UN Charter [text], and the Helsinki Final Act [text, PDF]. Jeremic said Serbia is asking the court to consider the effect its holding will have on similar cases worldwide, noting that China [JURIST news archive] had, for the first time, offered its opinion to the ICJ for this case.

In March, more than 100 Serbian judges, prosecutors, and legal professionals prevented the opening [JURIST report] of the first EU-backed trial in Kosovo by protesting in front of the Mitrovica court house. In October, the UN General Assembly [official website] voted [JURIST report] to ask the ICJ for a non-binding advisory opinion on the legality of the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo. That same month, Serbian President Boris Tadic [official website] said he had not ruled out partitioning parts of Kosovo [JURIST report]. Kosovo's constitution [text] went into effect [JURIST report] in 2008 despite Serbia's argument that the charter of the breakaway province was legally void.






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