Serbia denounces expected Kosovo secession as legally 'invalid'

[JURIST] Any unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo [JURIST news archive] from Serbia will be "invalid and void," Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said [press release, in Serbian] Thursday, hours before the UN Security Council [official website] was scheduled to discuss the possibility of Kosovar secession. Kosovo, the UN protectorate now dominated by ethnic Albanians which is still technically a part of Serbia, is widely expected to secede from Serbia in the next few days; local Kosovar authorities have been working with the European Union [official website] for months to move toward independence [JURIST report]. The independence option has run into considerable resistance from Russia, a traditional Serbian ally, prompting the UN Security Council to abandon a resolution [JURIST report] endorsing the independence plan last July. The US and European Union continue to support [JURIST report] an independent Kosovar state.

A decision [text] formally adopted by the Serbian government Thursday said that:

The acts and actions of the Provisional Institutions of Self-government of Kosovo and Metohija whereby unilateral independence is declared are hereby annulled as they violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the United Nations Charter, Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), other relevant Security Council Resolutions as well as by international law in force. These acts represent a violent and unilateral secession of a part of the territory of the Republic of Serbia and this is why they are invalid and void. These acts do not produce any legal effect either in the Republic of Serbia or in the international legal order. Unilateral secession of a part of the territory of a sovereign state constitutes legal violence against the Republic of Serbia and violence against international law in force.
Serbia has demanded that the Security Council similarly annul any Kosovar declaration of independence by Kosovo. Members of Kosovo's parliament, however, say Serbia's demands will not affect Kosovo's actions. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he still opposes Kosovo's plan to secede, calling it "not moral and not legal." AFP has more.

 

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