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Kosovo is precedent and not “unique case” (Politika)

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Politika daily on its front page in today’s print edition, runs the article in which long-term judge in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Milenko Kreca expresses his opinion regarding Kosovo and Catalonia cases.

The difference that the EU makes between Kosovo and Catalonia is an expression of political interests that have no basis in the international law, Kreca said.

Classification of Kosovo as “a sui generis case” is not legally founded and one could say it was an attempt to justify double standards applied in relation to Kosovo and the Spanish province of Catalonia.

“If we accept there is a difference between Kosovo and Catalonia, it means that we are introducing two international laws,” Kreca said, adding “that right to self-determination is equally valid for all people, in fact it is about equal right to self-determination. However, when we speak about Albanian population in Kosovo, they do not have a status of people, but of national minority, and national minorities do not have right to self-determination”.

In order to defend the stance that Kosovo and Catalonia are incomparable, Brussels administration said that recognition of Kosovo happened in a very specific context and that such position was adopted by the European Council, based on the UN declarations and different resolutions as well as the international community.

Following the harsh reaction from the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who asked how come the referendum in Catalonia is illegal, while in Kosovo secession was allowed, even without a referendum, the EU again responded saying that Catalonia is an internal matter of Spain, that is an EU member state and cannot be compared with “Kosovo case” on what the EU Ministerial Council adopted the stance in 2008 saying it is “a unique case” that cannot serve as a precedent.

The fact that the EU refers to different UN resolutions and declarations, Kreca considers as a weak argument. According to him, the EU referred to a serial of UN resolutions that referred to the situation in Kosovo, but they turned out to be politically influenced as the time goes by. In addition, they were not legally binding.

“As long as the UN SC Resolution 1244 is in force, made based on the Article 7, of the UN Charter, meaning it is legally binding for all, Kosovo and Metohija are part of Serbia, but under international control. As long as Serbia does not recognize the independence of Kosovo, it in the light of the international law cannot obtain a status of an internationally recognized state,” Kreca said.

The EU while defending its stance that referendum in Catalonia and declaration by which the Kosovo Assembly declared independence in 2008 are different, has in mind, advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which in fact gave an abstract response without responding to the main question, whether the independence of Kosovo was in line with the international law.

That is why I refer to separate opinion of judges in the International Court of Justice that are very well founded. The judge Abdul Koroma clearly stated that the declaration of Kosovo’s independence is illegal and void.

The-then Vice-President of the Court, Peter Tomka said: “The legal regime of administering the international territorial organization of Kosovo remains unchanged,” Kreca further explained.

Kreca also reminded that the right to self-determination falls under the category of the so-called absolute right of the people. In case of Kosovo, there was an attempt to disguise it with the so-called remedial secession. According to that concept, even if a certain entity has no right to self-determination on the basis of general international law, this right could be exercised in specific cases, when there is a massive violation of the human rights.

Such legal construction is basically political and is not supported by independently verified facts, on which experts in the West are writing about. According to their opinion, declaration of the independence of Kosovo was done in contradiction to the international law.

Recognition of Kosovo, made by a certain number of states, is in fact a political act, an expression of opportunisms and political assessments not based on law and express a constellation of international relations, at the time when the conflict in Kosovo happened, Kreca further said, adding that in this case reaction of the Serbian Government on the stance of the EU was necessary.

Commenting on the letter, that Belgrade prepared for 22 EU member states, calling upon them to reconsider decision on recognizing unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo, Milenko Kreca thinks it will be hard to bring the case back to the grounds of the international law, but if nothing else, it would strengthen Serbia’s negotiation position.


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