[JURIST] Kosovo's new constitution [text] went into effect Sunday despite a declaration by Serbian President Boris Tadic that the charter of the breakaway Serbian province was legally void. The constitution was adopted [JURIST report] by the Assembly of Kosovo [official website] in April and later certified by the European Union [JURIST report] as guaranteeing the individual and community rights of all its citizens. Tadic reiterated in a speech Sunday that Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence [text; JURIST report] and as such, cannot recognize the country's constitution as a legal fact. He said that diplomacy, not force, was necessary to defend the "integrity" of Serbia's "southern province." Kosovo Serbs claim they will set up their own assembly within Kosovo by June 28 to protect their rights. Xinhua has more. AFP has additional coverage.
Kosovo [JURIST news archive] at present is overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Albanians with only a small minority of Serbs remaining mostly in the north [JURIST report] after Serb forces withdrew from the region following the 1999 bombing campaign against Yugoslav forces under the political direction of President Slobodan Milosevic. It was subsequently put under UN administration. The new state of Kosovo has been recognized by the US and most European states, but not by Serbia or Russia, Serbia's closest ally.