Home Page
News 05 Dec 11

Macedonia Savours World Court Victory Over Greece

The International Court of Justice, ICJ, in The Hague on Monday found Greece guilty of breaching the UN 1995 deal with Macedonia by blocking the country's membership of NATO in 2008.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Judge Hisashi Owada | Photo by: ICJ

The president of the court, Judge Hisashi Ovada, said the judges had ruled by 15 votes to one "that the Hellenic Republic, by objecting to the admission of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to NATO, has breached its obligation under Article 11, paragraph 1, of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995”.

The court found that Greece had failed to prove that in 2008 it had acted “in response” to a previous Macedonian breach of the same accord.

Click here to download the official full document of the ICJ ruling (PDF)

However, the court did not uphold Macedonia’s request and order Greece to restrain from blocking its smaller neighbour from joining International organizations in future.

In November, 2008, Macedonia instituted proceedings against Greece before the World Court for what it described as “a flagrant violation of [Greece’s] obligations under Article 11” of the 1995 UN brokered bilateral Interim Accord that regulates relations between the two countries.

In the UN deal Greece undertook not to block Macedonia’s accession to international organization as long as the country used the provisional UN reference, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

During the public hearings in March, Greece insisted that it did not block Macedonia's NATO membership; it was a joint decision of all countries attending the NATO summit in Romania.

The judgment is final, without appeal and is binding on the parties, though the World Court has no tools to enforce its decisions.

But officials in Skopje believe that a positive ruling for Macedonia will have shifted the terms of the argument in Macedonia's favour.

The ICJ case was a direct consequence of the longstanding bilateral dispute between Macedonia and Greece over the former's name.

Greece insists that use of the term "Macedonia" by its neighbour implies a territorial claim to its own northern province of the same name.

Macedonia, on the other hand, sees the demand to change its name as insulting and as an attack on the country's identity.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus



Macedonia-Greece Name Dispute: What’s in a name?

Ever since Macedonia gained independence in 1991, its name has been the subject of a bitter dispute with southern neighbor, Greece.

Key Figure


Matthew Nimetz: The Patient Man Behind the 'Thankless' Talks

The longstanding mediator between Athens and Skopje, Matthew Nimetz, rarely reveals his feelings – but admits regret that the name ‘New Macedonia’ didn’t stick.


11 Mar 13

The Ugly Face of National Pride

Harald Schenker

It was bound to happen. And it did. I can't really say finally, but here I am, perplexed and unsurprised.

13 Dec 12

Macedonia and the EU Council Conclusions

Gerald Knaus
26 Nov 10

I’m Tired of Being ‘The Girl From Macedonia’

Tanja Milevska
21 Jun 10

Macedonia Celebrates its Defeat

Sinisa Jakov Marusic


17 Jan 18

Macedonia, Greece, ‘Must Seize Historic Opportunity’ – Dimitrov

In an interview with BIRN, Macedonia’s foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov, says the two countries have a duty to use the current momentum to finally resolve their ancient disputes.

17 Oct 13

Brussels Runs Short of Levers in Macedonia

28 Jun 13

Macedonia Vanishes from View at EU Summit