On 22 July 2010, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its decision, stating that the “adoption of the declaration of independence of 17 February 2008 … did not violate any applicable rule of international law”. NPWJ welcomes the decision and calls on all countries to recognise officially Kosovo, the youngest European country.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“Today’s ruling by the ICJ on the declaration of Kosovo’s independence is an important step for this fledgling democracy. When that declaration was made, Kosovo’s democratically elected leaders – on behalf of all people in Kosovo – pledged to uphold the rule of law. No Peace Without Justice and the Transnational Nonviolent Radical Party welcome this balanced and authoritative decision by the ICJ.

“The law has prevailed, underscoring that considerations of sovereignty must end where crimes against humanity begin. A government that deliberately turns on its people through violence and intimidation has no business governing; and a State that fails in its primary responsibility to protect its people from crimes against humanity loses the right to claim those people as its own.

“We hope this will be an opportunity for the people of the former Yugoslavia to make further inroads into dealing with their past and for their leaders to demonstrate their own commitment to the rule of law. That would include the arrest and surrender fugitives such as General Radko Mladic, wanted for genocide in connection with the Srebrenica massacres, whose continued impunity casts a shadow over Serbia’s declared willingness to join the European family based on a commitment to the rule of law.”

For further information, contact Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-39 15.