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Kosovo Independence Is Legal - ICJ

kosovo independenceThe International Court of Justice (ICJ)  has ruled that Kosovo's 2008 unilateral declaration of independence does not violate international law, in a decision awaited by countries around the world.

Cyprus does not recognise Kosovo as a state and sent a legal team to the ICJ to argue that minorities do not have the right to self-determination. However, the court said it had not been asked for an opinion on whether Kosovo had the right to declare independence; only on whether its declaration is against international law. 

Serbia reacted angrily, saying the country will never recognise Kosovo, and Cyprus issued a statement saying its position on the matter is "a position of principles and reaffirms its unwavering position of respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia."

Nine of the countries involved in the ICJ's process have already recognized Kosovo's independence, and six have rejected it. Japan, Sierra Leone, Jordan, United States, Germany, France, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Somalia accept Kosovo's statehood. Russia, Slovakia, China, Morocco, and Brazil rejected it.

Observers say that Nagorno Karabakh, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia, and Transnistria could see the ruling as support for their own claims of independence. But each entity would have to look carefully at its foundation as the court said that the illegality of a state "stems from the connection with the unlawful use of force" in its establishment.

Serbia and Kosovo parted ways in 1999 after a two-year war was ended by a 78-day NATO bombing campaign. Before its unilaterally declared independence in 2008, Kosovo was run by a U.N. administration and a NATO-monitored ceasefire.

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