CIJ to evaluate legitimacy of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence

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State secretary for strategic affairs Bogdan Aurescu and director general for legal affairs Cosmin Dinescu with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pleaded on Thursday, in front of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in The Hague, in favor of Romania’s stand as regards the adoption of an advisory opinion on whether “the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo is in accordance with international law.”

Romanian team took part in the hearings, for 45 minutes, organized in the Great Justice Hall of the Peace Palace in The Hague. According to MAE, in his opening speech, Bogdan Aurescu reminded that, for Romania, the international law principles represent the Romanian states’ foreign policy core, ICJ ruling of Feb. 3, 2009 proving the relevance for our country of a legal solution to the international disputes.

In substance, Aurescu firstly approached the legal opportunity of the Advisory Opinion, rejecting some already spelled support within the legal procedures for the so-called absence of the judicial effects of the said Opinion on Kosovo status, or the impossibility for the UN General Assembly to derive consequences from that Opinion.

As well, he argued the need that ICJ should not limit itself to give a strict and limited reply to the question asked by the General Assembly, namely if the unilateral declaration of independence of the provisional institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo is in accordance with the international law – a real legal issue the Court must solve referring, in Romania’s vistion, to the assessment if the international law bans, or not, the creation of a new state through unilateral secession in the examined case circumstances.

As well, Aurescu maintained that the acceptance of that idea – shared by some of the participants – that the unilateral secession would be allowed by the international law, that the territorial integrity is applicable between states alone and that the non-state players would not be constrained to observe it, would mean that every part of a state territory could proclaim its independence.

“That would lead to extremely serious consequences for the international legal order. It would mean that every province, district, county or even the smallest and most distant hamlet could have the international law permission to declare independence and get secession. (…) This conclusion cannot be accepted. The ban on unilateral secession is one of (…) the elements of territorial integrity”, pleaded Aurescu.

Romania’s delegation argued that the territorial integrity and sovereignty principles represent the fundamental pillars of the international law and no derogation from that is acceptable.
Aurescu also said that Kosovo independence declaration infringes the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, which impose that Kosovo final status should be defined during a political process based on negotiations and on the accord of the two involved sides. “The Security Council cannot, in any case, impose to a state to accept secession of part of its territory in the absence of an accord between the interested sides”, underlined Romania’s representative.

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