Last Thursday, the UN's highest court declared that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law. That is, it was a legitimate declaration, and as such, Kosovo is a bona fide independent country, outside the control of Serbia. This news should come as a matter of good news to the millions of others who are still oppressed and live a life of third class citizen, or worse still, illegals, in their country of birth, e.g., the Rohingya Muslims of Arakan state of Burma (Myanmar).
Kosovo, lived by Albanian Muslims, was an autonomous territory within Yugoslavia. Slobdan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader, revoked Kosovo’s autonomy in 1989 and fiercely repressed ethnic Albanians. The Serbian Orthodox Christian leadership forced them to live a life of unwanted citizens in a country that they lived for centuries. Serbian repression eventually forced armed rebellion by the Kosovars. Milosevic wanted to write the suicide note for the Kosovars, much like what he tried to do, or succeeded in doing, with Bosnia, in the early 1990s. In his arrogance, he ignored that these Kosovars were children of their own land, and had a glorious past. But nothing mattered to Serbian Christian bigots. They killed and raped, destroyed and ravaged Kosovo. But thanks to world pressure and moral support for Kosovo independence movement, the Serbs were ultimately unsuccessful. NATO intervened in 1999 to halt Milosevic’s violent response to the rebels. After the war ended, the United Nations administered Kosovo for eight years, during which time it lingered in a legal limbo.
It was a question of time when the Kosovars would be declaring independence. And this they did in 2008. After the failure of a negotiated settlement, Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in February 2008. Sixty-nine countries, including the United States and a majority of European Union nations, have recognized Kosovo.
Political analysts say that the advisory opinion, passed in a 10-to-4 vote by the court judges, is likely to spur other countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leadership welcomed the court’s decision. “This is a great day for Kosovo, and my message to the government of Serbia is, ‘Come and talk to us,’ ” Kosovo’s foreign minister, Skender Hyseni, said after leaving the court, The Associated Press reported. The U.S. State Department said the ruling was “a judgment we support,” according to The Associated Press. “Now it is time for Europe to unite behind a common future.”