02 Dec 09

ICJ Hears Further Kosovo Arguments

Countries supporting and oppossing Kosovo's controversial decleration of independence presented their views to the International Court of Justice, ICJ, Wednesday.

The hearings, which began on Tuesday and will run until 11 December, are looking at whether the decision of Kosovo’s provisional institutions of self-government’s in February 2008 to unilaterally declare independence from Serbia is in accordance with international law.

Serbia and Kosovo on Tuesday had three hours each to present their case. A further 29 UN member states, including the US and Russia, are over the next days unveiling their arguments to the Court.

On Wednesday representatives from Albania, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Argentina put forward their views. The first three countries have recognised Kosovo's independence, but Argentina has not.

Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the Netherlands, Abdullah A. Alshaghrood, stated clearly his country's support for Kosovo: ''We agree with the conclusions by Kosovo and others that the declaration of independence was not a violation of international law.

We are confident that the Court will take into consideration the substantial progress in Kosovo and in the region,'' he added.

Sussanne Wasum Rainer, a legal adviser to Germany's foreign office, agreed, and noted that Kosovo's existence cannot be ignored. ''There is now a state of Kosovo which cannot be ignored. The existence of this state is based on the exercise on the right of self-determination by the people of Kosovo,'' she said.

But Suzana Ruiz Cerutti, head legal adviser to Argentina's foreign ministry noted that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence ''breaches an obligation to respect the territorial integrity of Serbia, the obligation of peaceful settlement of disputes and principle of non-intervention. The resolution has no legal basis in the principle of self-determination,'' she said.

Professor Jochen Frowein from Albania's delegation argued that secession is not prohibited by international law. ''Secession is not regulated by international law. There is no rule of international law prohibiting secession.

''There are few cases when the secession is violating international law. When intervention by third states, be it by use of force or other means is decisive for the declaration of independence, this is a severe violation of international law,'' he said, but noted that in Kosovo's case this was not so.

Other countries will present their opinions in the coming days. Countries appear according to alphabetical order.





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