Kosovo and Crimea – what’s the difference?

The only discussion of principle emerging from the debates over Kosovar and Crimean independence is that initiated by Woodrow Wilson towards the end of World War One, about whether national minorities have the right to self-determination. Can a smaller group be compelled to be part of a larger state, or should they be permitted to secede? To what extent do minority rights amount to a freedom to determine one’s own sovereignty?

 Suggested Reading Collaborative Conflict Transformation GCCT

By Matthew Parish

In June 1999 an international military force led by the United States annexed Kosovo, then a province in southern Serbia with a population of perhaps 1.6 million people. Virtually all Serbian government administrators of the province fled. This took place after a NATO military campaign intended to degrade Serbia’s military and government facilities, in the course of which between 5,000 and 15,000 people are thought to have died and a further half a million to a million people became refugees. By any measure, events in Kosovo in 1999 were a humanitarian catastrophe. The result was that the region’s government was separated entirely from that of Serbia. Initially it was subject to a regime of international administration under the auspices of the United Nations. By 2005 it had its own autonomous domestic government; by 2008 Kosovo had unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. At the time of writing, 104 countries (more than half the members of the United Nations) recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

In February 2014, Ukraine’s unicameral parliament voted to remove the country’s elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, from power, declaring that he had resigned. The Yanukovych government, perceived by many ethnic Ukrainians as pro-Russian, was replaced by a western-leaning administration and early elections were scheduled. Three days later unidentified gunmen occupied government buildings in Simferopol, the capital of the autonomous Ukrainian province of Crimea with a population of some 2.35 million. Irregular militias established checkpoints on the borders with the rest of Ukraine. The Crimean Parliament dissolved the province’s local government. Russian troops were subsequently acknowledged as present in Crimea in substantial numbers. A pro-Russian replacement government organised a referendum in March, the results of which were overwhelmingly in favour of independence. Crimea then made a unilateral declaration of independence from Ukraine and applied to join the Russian Federation. Russia agreed, enacting legislation absorbing Crimea into its federal institutions. Very few people died. No third country recognised Crimea’s independence, but they did not need to. Crimea did not aspire to become an independent state; it aspired to, and has succeeded in, joining another state. Crimea has since adopted Russia’s currency, western time zone, government structures and social welfare system. Its legislative structure is being similarly overhauled.

It is superficially tempting to compare these two extraordinary events of territorial self-determination through the lens of legal principle. Western narrative avers that Kosovo’s independence was legitimate as a matter of international law and diplomatic policy, whereas the annexation of Crimea was an act of illegitimate aggression by an insurgent Russian power. The two events had different origins, although both events were precipitated by different types of political crisis. The international annexation of Kosovo was the product of a low-level war of insurgency between the Serbian army and a developed but irregular Kosovo militia, the Kosovo Liberation Army, that had begun in February 1998. NATO intervened (initially without a UN Security Council mandate), so it said, to prevent bloodshed. Nevertheless NATO military action caused substantial loss of life, so at least some sort of utilitarian calculus (between lives saved and deaths caused) is surely necessary to evaluate the merits of what was done.

By contrast the annexation of Crimea was not precipitated by loss of life and caused almost no loss of life. The counting of lives cannot therefore be an appropriate method of evaluating the propriety of what Russia did; one must therefore appeal to some other principle to reach a conclusion about whether Russia’s actions were right or wrong. The most natural such set of axioms might appear to be those of international law. The argument run that Russia interfered in another country’s sovereign territory, and states should not do this. But legal arguments of this kind assume the inviolability of international borders. And Kosovo was the principal instance since the end of the Cold War where the international community has seen fit to abandon that notion. It did so even though the United Nations Security Council insisted that Kosovo remain part of Serbia after the end of the war there. With western support, the province declared independence nonetheless and three out of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council recognised its right to do so. If Kosovo can achieve such a feat over the strictures of the UN Security Council, why can Crimea not do the same where the Security Council has made no such pronouncement? No obvious answer of principle presents itself.

The issue was aired before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its advisory opinion on Kosovo’s independence, delivered in 2010. That opinion asserted that Kosovo’s declaration of independence was consistent with international law, but the reasons provided were obscure. The Court’s logic was that declarations of independence are never unlawful as a matter of international law. Indeed it does not matter how the declaration of independence comes about: that is a matter for the domestic law of the state, or aspirational state, in question. Even a powerful obstacle of principle to applying this analysis to Kosovo was intricately obviated. The Kosovo Assembly, issuing the declaration of independence, was a creation of the United Nations governance mission. The United Nations Security Council had issued a resolution prohibiting Kosovo’s independence. How could a UN organ overrule the UN Security Council? The answer the Court divined was that the Kosovo Assembly was not acting in its official role, but rather as a representative of the will of the people of Kosovo. Therefore it was free to disregard Security Council resolutions.

But the Court’s rationale in the Kosovo case lends itself even more forcefully to Crimea. In Crimea there was no Security Council resolution against independence, because Russia would have vetoed one. The internal procedure by which Crimean independence came about – a popular referendum, arguably harbouring more institutional legitimacy than the vote of a legislative assembly created by the United Nations – is irrelevant for the purposes of international law. By the reasoning of the Court, all that matters is the occurrence of a procedure which led to a declaration of independence. Therefore if Kosovo can declare independence, there is surely no reason why Crimea cannot do so as well.

One reaction to all this is simply to observe that the Court’s reasoning about Kosovo’s declaration of independence was wholly bogus and should not stand as a legal precedent of any kind. It was the product of the Court being stacked with pro-western Judges whose countries of origin had already recognised Kosovo’s independence. The Judges therefore lent their names to a legal opinion consisting of unprincipled scrap, in the interests of political expediency.

A principled jurist might however try harder than the Judges did, and attempt to divine some genuine legal principles from the Kosovo case and then enquire whether those principles lead to a different outcome for Crimea.

The argument of principle, at its most forceful, would be this. The majority of the population of Kosovo – its Albanian majority – wanted independence. They had been fighting a low-level insurgency for a number of years with a view to obtaining that goal. In the weeks and months before the NATO bombing began, the Albanian insurgency had been met with a Serb military crackdown in which at least several hundreds of people – Kosovar Albanians said the numbers were many more – had died. The extent of the violence meted out to the Albanian insurgents caused Serbia to forfeit its right to exercise sovereignty over the province: internal Serbian violence necessitated international intervention for humanitarian goals, which in turn entailed eventual independence. Once the province had been separated from the institutions of central government, it could not be returned.

But this argument involves a series of political judgments outside the realm of international law or even moral principle. It requires an assessment of the relative moral culpability of the violence instigated by Serbs and that by Albanians, and possibly even a judgment about relative collective guilt. The argument entails a conclusion that international military intervention was warranted in another country’s conflict to achieve humanitarian goals. It then entails a political judgment that independence was the best option facing the international community once it had occupied Kosovo.

None of these are matters upon which legal principles can sensibly declare. They require multi-faceted value judgments in the field of international relations. At its heart, the case for Kosovo’s independence was that given the corner into which the international community had isolated itself in 2008, Kosovar independence was the least bad outcome. Negotiations between Serbia and the Kosovar Albanians over the final status of the province had achieved nothing. The international community could not abandon the province it had occupied using military force, or the insurgency in which it had acted to intervene would surely have resumed. Had the United Nations sought to reintegrate Kosovo back into Serbia, this would have resulted in an Albanian insurgency against its own forces. UN occupation of the province had resulted in de facto independence from Serbia, and this was a trend it was impossible to reverse. But none of these are matters it is sensible to expect Judges impartially to pronounce upon. Each step in this chain of reasoning involves assessments born of political expediency and not of principle.

Hence any attempt to establish legal principles upon which an assessment of a province’s declaration of independence may or may not be justified is surely a mirage. The ICJ’s Kosovo decision established the principle that the internal constitution of a country is no obstacle to a declaration of independence being lawful. (Serbia’s constitution prohibited Kosovo’s independence.) Indeed the ICJ did not consider the  line of reasoning based upon political expediency at all, and hence its ruling was rendered bereft of all comprehensible logic. The rationale for Kosovo’s independence was not one of principle but of convenience to the interested occupying powers. This conclusion seems inescapable, or the ICJ – whose Judges are to be assumed competent and gifted – would surely have done a better job in attempting to rationalise what took place. But in that case, the same metric of political expediency falls to be applied to Crimea’s independence. It was convenient and appropriate to Russia that she facilitate the province’s independence and joinder to the Russian Federation, in light of unattractive events in a neighbouring country. Any argument against this analysis may be premised only upon the value-laden judgments involved in international politics, and not upon the supposedly objective parameters of international law.

At the current time it is hard to portray a politically neutral narrative of the turmoil in Ukraine in 2014, as  events are too recent and hence the politics of media partiality colours too thoroughly any attempt at verifiable historical analysis. Nevertheless the basic course of events is something like the following. In November 2013 the then-Ukrainian President repudiated an agreement for closer economic ties with the European Union after years of negotiations, in favour of a substitute subsidised energy deal with Russia. European and American governments then funded a revolutionary movement that led to his overthrow before the expiry of his electoral term, and he fled the country. The government in Kiev was replaced with a pro-western interim administration. Russia was fearful of Ukraine falling into a western orbit, and in particular joining her military rival NATO or developing economic ties with the European Union to the exclusion of Russian influence. To preclude this, Russia orchestrated a peaceful uprising in the ethnically and historically Russian province of Crimea, which houses the Russian Black Sea fleet. This took place with the consent of the overwhelming majority of Crimean residents.

Measured by the criterion of popular will, Crimea’s independence from Ukraine was every bit as proper as that of Kosovo: 90% or more of the population of both provinces supported their respective acts of independence. Russia’s actions in annexing Crimea were less harmful than those of NATO in annexing Kosovo: only one person is recorded as having died. The political events that led to the act of annexation in each case were different: insurgency and crackdown, versus overthrow of a democratically elected government. Nevertheless it is hard to say, as a matter of political pragmatism, that one of these two measures justifies military intervention in a foreign state less than does the other. In neither case did the internal constitutions of the states from which secession took place permit the acts of secession. But that in itself seemed of scant relevance in either case. Larger countries seldom acquiesce when their smaller provinces secede. (Scotland’s forthcoming referendum on independence from the United Kingdom may become a notable counterexample.)

The conclusion of this discussion is surely that international law has nothing much of value to say about international borders. The only discussion of principle emerging from the debates over Kosovar and Crimean independence is that initiated by Woodrow Wilson towards the end of World War One, about whether national minorities have the right to self-determination. Can a smaller group be compelled to be part of a larger state, or should they be permitted to secede? To what extent do minority rights amount to a freedom to determine one’s own sovereignty? Wilson was of the view that as a matter of international law, minority groups have a right of self-determination. This seems to entail that provinces dominated by an ethnic minority can declare independence from larger states of which they unwillingly form part.

But this notion has ebbed and flowed amidst the tides of international relations, and has never been consistently accepted. If it is intended to be a general principle of international law, it has  consequences for the future of a number of minority regions as far apart as Xinjiang, Catalonia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, that the international community might be reluctant to embrace. If international law cannot even coalesce a consensus around this relatively straightforward principle, it is not certain that it can say anything intelligent about secession and the emergence of new states at all. If that is right then the difference between Kosovo and Crimea is precisely nothing, save one of political expediency; and the colour of that lens depends upon which direction one may be looking through it. Viewed from the west, Kosovo is most expedient whereas Crimea is not. When one gazes through the eastern corner of the same lens, reflections may be reversed.

Matthew Parish is an international lawyer based in Geneva and a frequent writer on international law and international relations. In 2013 he was elected a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and named by Bilan magazine as one of the three hundred most influential people in Switzerland. His third book, Ethnic Civil War and the Promise of Law, will be published later this year. For more information, please visit: www.matthewparish.com.

If you are interested in writing for TransConflict, please do not hesitate to contact us with your ideas and suggestions!

What are the principles of conflict transformation?

41 Responses

  1. Fadil_H

    @Matthew,

    Seems like you have “forgotten” few things. First one, Kosovo has been constitutive entity of Yugoslav federation. Crimea was not. Second, Albanians were not national minority because there were some 2.5 million of Albanian in former Yugoslavia. Albanians were bigger ethnic group than Bosniaks, Slovenians, Macedonians and Montenegrins. Only the Serbs and Croats were bigger group. Considering 2.5 million Albanians as “minority” vs half million of Montenegrins as “majority” is a kind of joke.

    Former state, known as Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) is dissolved as a result of Serbian hegemony trying to impose rules to the others. By SFRY Constitution, in its preamble, it was mentioned “right of people to self-determination, up to secession” but it is a fact that Yugoslav peoples did not get independent but rather constitutive entities as Kosovo was. In the first phase only republics but there is no clause in international law specifying whether republics or autonomous provinces could secede. Article 5 of SFRY Constitution (its operational part) said that “for the change of borders of SFRY, consent of republics and autonomous provinces was required” hence giving to Kosovo veto power. Other thing you have “forgotten” is that Serbia changed illegally constitutional position of Kosovo on 1990, being in breach of SFRY constitution, its own, Serbian Constitution and Kosovo Constitution.

    You also “forgot” that by UN SC resolution 777 (September 1992), the state known as SFRY “ceased to exist” and the “claim by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to continue automatically the membership of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the United Nations has not been generally accepted”.

    The so called “Federal Republic of Yugoslavia” (Serbia and Montenegro) was not recognized state nor member of the United Nations neither the successor of former SFRY..

    Nevertheless such “state”, ruled in Kosovo illegally and applying terror against Albanian population from 1990 up to the liberation of Kosovo on June 1990. Kosovo leaders asked for peaceful solution but as a response Serbia applied apartheid and terror. Such behavior of Serbia eventually resulted in the creation of Kosovo Liberation Army on 1997 to oppose such terror. As the terror of Serbian state continued, NATO intervened very rightfully against not recognized state and not UN member, the so called FRY. In the aftermath UN SC adopted resolution no 1244.

    You are interpreting in very wrong way that resolution (1244) as there is no binding clause in it, stating that Kosovo should be “part of Serbia”. Instead the UN SC instructed civil mission, known as UNMIK, to “facilitate political process for the Kosovo status, taking into account Ramboiullet Accords.

    The Ramboiullet Accords states very clear no binding clause to stay within Serbia but rather the will of the people of Kosovo. As we know the will of Kosovo people as independence.

    Now, having Crimea as comparison. As i said, Crimea was NOT constitutive element of Soviet Union. Ukraine was RECOGNIZED state, Serbia was not. Ukraine never applied terror to its citizens in Crimea. The situation of Kosovo vs Crimea is very different.

    1. KittCheshire

      ‘Former state, known as Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) is dissolved as a result of Serbian hegemony trying to impose rules to the others. By SFRY Constitution, in its preamble, it was mentioned “right of people to self-determination, up to secession” but it is a fact that Yugoslav peoples did not get independent but rather constitutive entities as Kosovo was. In the first phase only republics but there is no clause in international law specifying whether republics or autonomous provinces could secede.’

      Not trying to cut you down, but I thought you might want to know about the principle of uti posseditis (pretty much translates to ‘as you have it’). It developed in South America during the process of decolonization, and was deemed a general principle of international law during the decolonization of Africa after WWII. It basically meant that during decolonization the borders drawn by the European colonists were to remain. Notably, it was also cited by the UN during the dissolution of the SFRY – so is of relevance when discussing Kosovo. It’s the clause in international law that specifies whether autonomous provinces can secede – they can’t. Under international law both Kosovo and Crimea shouldn’t have happened.

      But international law in these cases is pretty much just a form of legitimizing what happened anyway – it may be worth mentioning Re Secession of Quebec where the Canadian Supreme Court basically said as much when it said that international law couldn’t stop other countries recognizing a ‘new State’ that has seceded, though it went on to say that other countries might turn to international law in assessing whether they should recognize the seceding territory as a State.

      In Kosovo’s case – it was recognized as a State. In Crimea’s case it has joined an existing recognized State. So I’m kind of with the author in saying that it may be a null point to try and prove which of Kosovo and Crimea was more justified in acting contrary to international legal norms, as in doing so you take upon yourself the unenviable burden of having to defend every value judgement you make.

      Again – don’t mean this as a jab at you. Just like writing about international law in public places.

      1. KittCheshire

        As an addendum – if anyone does actually look at Re Secession of Quebec, it might be unfortunate to rely on the Canadian Supreme Court’s suggestion that remedial secession might be valid when discussing the Kosovo-Crimea comparison. The Supreme Court is likely treating Kosovo as a possible precedent in its tentative assertion of this right under international law: thus to apply that obiter comment here would be to commit something akin to a tautology.

        If anything, to take the Canadian Supreme Court’s suggestion that Kosovo might serve as a precedent in international law would be a double-edged sword in trying to justify Kosovo as against Crimea. It would be necessary to show that your, or the Canadian Supreme Court’s, reading of a single data-point (Kosovo) is correct, and that Russia’s is not. The difficulty with this is that Crimea would be the closest thing to subsequent practice, as well as being the contentious issue.

        Further to this, Kosovo’s ability to offer precedent in international law is undermined by the fact that the NATO states concerned rejected this possibility. Belgium is a notable exception in defending NATO’s actions under ‘humanitarian intervention’, but one State alone is insufficient to generate the necessary opinio juris (i.e. the slippery pseudo-psychological element that turns State practice into a legal norm).

    2. vsotirovic

      The presented number of Yugoslav Albanians is extremely overestimated for the very political purposes. In addition, majority of Kosovo Albanians came illegally from Albania from 1912 onward taking out the land from the local Serbs and terrorizing them including and massive expulsion of the Serbs from their original homeland

  2. Fadil_H

    Second thing I would like to emphasize is the very ridiculous behavior and comments from Russian federation. After declaration of independence from Kosovo, the Russian diplomats would mention some “200 cases throughout the world” that would do the same as Kosovo. “Surprisingly” from all of those “200 cases” there were only 3 to have seceded, South Osetia, Abhkazia and lastly Crimea. Of course ALL of them by Russian intervention and illegal annexation. So what happened with other 197 cases???

    The very ridiculous behavior of the Russians is also regarded to their claims as “Crimea became part of Russian federation according to international law”!!!! If one reads comments of the Russian delegation to the International Court of Justice, regarding Kosovo declaration of independence, would see how CONTRADICTORY are the Russians with themselves.
    I can never stop laughing when Russian foreign minister, Mr. Lavrov, while occupying part of sovereign Georgia on 2008, said that “Russia has right to intervene in Georgia according to article 51 of the UN Charter”!!!! It is in fact the OPPOSITE. It was not Georgia to attack Russia and hence giving right to Russia implementing article 51. It was the opposite – Russia attacked Georgia and occupied part of sovereign Georgia although the same Russia voted in favor of the UN SC resolution 1808 (April 2008) which says:

    “1. Reaffirms the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders and supports all efforts by the United Nations and the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General, which are guided by their determination to promote a settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict only by peaceful means and within the framework of the Security Council resolutions;”

    The Russians indeed inflict the healthy logic and intelligence of normal people.

    1. Carl

      Article 51 was perfectly in order re 8/8/8. South Ossetia was under protection by a joint peacekeeping force (of which the Georgian part suddenly went home hours before the fateful attacks) acting under UN mandate. Georgia subsequently broke the deal and proceeded to shell the region and directly attack the Russian peacekeepers.

      Russia was perfectly entitled to respond in force, and the UN, OSCE and others have acknowledged this fully, just as they have acknowledged that it was indeed Georgia who initiated military action that caused a significant loss of life, decidedly prior to any Russian involvement save for the small group of peacekeepers that were there even before.

      However, there is also general agreement that the later phase of said response was unproportional (ie the Russians proceeded to disable Georgian military assets far deeper into Georgian territory).

      1. Carl

        Also, Abkhazia and South Ossetia _weren’t_ annexed by anybody, and they have both been de facto independent since 1992, in other words pretty much since the Georgian SSR broke off from the USSR, which initiated their break for independence. In effect, Tbilisi has never been in actual control over these regions. Prior to the USSR they were part of the Russian Empire, in which the Georgian governorate was directly under Moscow too.

      2. Fadil_H

        @Carl,

        You are mixing things. Again, article 51 of UN Charter is regarded in cases when a sovereign country is attacked. Georgia DID NOT attack Russia but parts of its OWN territory, recognized by the UN. By Russian military intervention in Georgia it was the opposite – Russia did attack Georgia, hence bu the provisions of international law this is an act of aggression. Do you understand such a simple thing? Could you please cite any statements from UN or OSCE to have been “acknowledged” Russia’s “right” to respond by force??

        South Ossetia and Abhkazia are under Russian occupation although declared “independence”. Those territories are de facto part of Russian federation and not independent at all. They are fully dependent from Russia.

        My comment was in response to Matthew’s claims about UN SC resolution and I quoted UN SC resolution asking from UN members commitment “to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders”. It is very clear, therefore, that Russia doesn’t respect nothing from the international law although all the time speaking for that. Of course, when it comes to Russia’s interests, international law is just zero.

  3. PEN

    Another excellent article from Matthew Parish who invariably depicts things as they are. That serial provocateur who now uses the tagline ‘Fadil_H’on the other hand only views things through the prism of an Albanian nationalist fanatic masquerading as the voice of reason. Ignore him at all costs!

    1. Fadil_H

      @PEN,

      Anyway you never say anything relevant i.e. trying to give some facts or arguments. In fact today I am happy to hear that Serbian community, backed by Belgrade, will cast votes on this Sunday. Of course by the laws of the Republic of Kosovo and ballots with Kosovo state symbols. This is what matters PEN. I never count what you say.

  4. Anonymous

    Absolutely nothing to do with who votes for what or international recognition. Endless meaningless elections for irrelevant party’s does not detract from the wretched existance for the average inhabitant of Kosovo. You would do well to devote your energy to improving the quality of life of your fellow Albanians, in instead of making an abject fool of yourself ad nauseum. You’ve been churning out dross for years now. Don’t you ever grow weary of your own deluded rantings?

    1. Fadil_H

      Anonymous,

      Who cares at all about your rubbish sayings here. If Kosovo elections are “meaningless” for you this does not matter at ALL for Kosovo people. You just waste your time in this regard. And yes, the quality of life of the Albanians in Kosovo, today, is 1000 time better then on 90s. No fear of being killed, expelled from the country by force, being burned, raped, kicked from work, kicked from Universities, schools. All of this happened during the Serbian regime on 90s. NOTHING from this is happening now. What one could ask more. Of course economic prosper. But it is happening, slowly but, as I said, 1000 times better then during Serbian regime.

  5. PEN

    Hey Anonymous, welcome to the world according to ‘Fadil’ or is it ‘Fadil_H’ different tag, same old horseshit. The guy’s deranged. He’s been farting away on Transconflict with gay abandon for year’s now. He doesn’t speak for anybody. I’ll bet most Albanians think he’s bonkers. Just enjoy the great articles on this website and don’t get drawn in. That’s what he craves. Attention.

    1. Fadil_H

      PEN,

      Actually it is my joy seeing extremists, like you, going mad. Just imagine, I give credit to your prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, because even him, as a former hardliner, accepted the reality. So, as you see, the space for extremists is narrowing rapidly. Nevertheless, I can understand you crying as your compatriots in Kosovo, the Serbs, will vote tomorrow with ballots in which Kosovo state symbols are present. Not just that – once elected – the Serbian MP’s, as all the others, will take an oath saying that they will fully respect the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, its territorial integrity and sovereignty. So, my friend, we are going toward completion of accepting of the state of Kosovo from all Kosovo citizens. This a day for celebration.

      I know it hurts you too much. It is not my fault.

  6. Fadil_H

    Just to be clear for the readers of Transconflict. When somebody like Matthew “forgets” things, the reaction is expected. People like him go so far even in imagining things, as for example “United Nations Security Council insisted that Kosovo remain part of Serbia”!!!

    This is a HUGE lie from Matthew. There is NOT a single clause from the UN SC to “insist” that Kosovo “remains part of Serbia”. Although an international lawyer, Matthew seems to not have read the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice for Kosovo declaration of independence. For the record, just to recall that the same UN SC, with the same members adopted a new resolution for Cyprys, just few days after adoption of resolution 1244 regarding Kosovo.

    I would then recall Matthew how UN SC really insists when asking from a certain territory to really remain within a country. So I will quote paragraph 11 of UN SC resolution 1251 regarding Cyprus:

    “11. Reaffirms its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, and that such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession;”.

    And recalling what the UN SC said regarding Kosovo status settlement, which reads:

    UN SC resolution 1244, paragraph 11 (UN SC instructed civil mission to establish substantial autonomy for Kosovo, transfer competencies to Kosovo authorities and finally facilitate the political process tanking into account the Rambouillet accords (S/1999/648);”

    “11. (e) Facilitating a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future status, taking into account the Rambouillet accords (S/1999/648);”

    NOTHING here to see UN SC “insisting” for Kosovo to remain “part of Serbia”. Of course having text of Rambouillet accords, which reads:

    “Three years after the entry into force of this Agreement, an international meeting shall be convened to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo, on the basis of the will of the people, opinions of relevant authorities, each Party’s efforts regarding the implementation of this Agreement, and the Helsinki Final Act, and to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of this Agreement and to consider proposals by any Party for additional measures.”

    Where UN SC “insisted” that Kosovo “remains” part of Serbia is just a matter of Matthew’s imagination.

  7. PEN

    An example of ‘Fadil_H’s’ ‘Kosova.’
    Serbs visiting the orthodox cemetery in southern Albanian dominated Mitrovica for their holy day had to contend with 90% destroyed memorials and headstones. Albanian cemetery in northern predominantly Serb inhabited Mitrovica remains intact and undamaged to this day. Fifteen years after the conflict ended.
    Recently I came across the blog of a Chinese American volunteer who went to Kosovo to help the destitute. (Over 50% of the population by the way). From the outset she was forced to endure racist taunts and catcalls from the local Albanians which in the end forced her to leave.
    This is the reality of his primitive Albanian run ‘Kosova.’
    You’re arguments are pathetic and as Anonymous quite rightly states, you would do better to drag your compatriots out of the middle ages into the 21st century than wasting your time posting drivel here.

    1. Fadil_H

      Yes there are some bad examples in Kosovo, even this case of destruction of orthodox cemetery. Such things, of course, were always condemned form the state of Kosovo. These kind of things were committed from individuals in Kosovo, usually from those having killed, raped, expelled, burned people in their family from Serbian regime. Apparently this was a kind of retaliation of individuals.

      We are speaking here for the behavior Serbia not that of individuals. Of course people like Serbian extremists, like one nicknamed PEN, just fail to present any simple example of the bad behavior of the state of Kosovo. In contrary, the state of Kosovo has granted to the Serbs, and other minorities, rights never seen in any other part of planet Earth. So the state of Kosovo already behaves like one in 21st century.

      1. Fadil_H

        “Albanian run Kosova”!! This kind of extremists indeed live in some parallel universes. In “Albanian run Kosova” the Serbs and other minorities can use their own language in ALL levels and in the whole territory of Kosovo. Those minorities can establish their own municipality with just 5000 inhabitants and be more powerful then Kosovo capital – Prishtina. These minorities have educational system in their own language in ALL levels. These minorities, particularly the Serbs have their own medical service system, again in ALL levels. In “Albanian run Kosova” the Serbs could be elected in the Kosovo Assembly without a single vote and have 10 seats out of 120 while an Albanian needs at least 7000 votes for one seat. And the list continues.

        Is there any thing alike in “Serbian run Serbia”??? Can anybody speak Albanian in Serbian Assembly? Of course not. Can the Albanians in Serbia establish new municipality with just 5000 inhabitants?? Of course not.
        Can Albanians have guaranteed seats in Serbian Assembly? Of course not. Can the Albanians in Serbia send their children in their own University?? Of course not. Do Albanians in Serbia have their own medical service system? Of course not.

        So what kind of rubbish say Serbian extremists, as one nicknamed PEN???

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