ICJ Kosovo Judgment Due in November

by Julian Ku

The long-awaited ICJ judgment on Kosovo is due out this November, according to this report.  That would be pretty fast work, given the hearings were only held last December and probably involved the participation of more countries (35) filing memorials than any case in ICJ history. Still, the judgment was actually expected even earlier. Moreover, the report from Serbia suggests that the forthcoming arrest of long-wanted suspect Ratko Mladic may have an outcome on the ICJ’s decision? I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, but it suggests there may be some political machinations affecting the pending judgment. Any readers with more knowledge of what’s going on in Serbia on this should feel free to share.


4 Responses

  1. The whole process from the very beginning is a political charade, given the circumstances where an autonomous province within a country self-declares the independence. If we would strictly take the legal aspect of the trial, the judgment could have been delivered right after the hearings. Therefore, the potential arrest of Mladic would be just an additional stake in the highly complicated political game in the Balkans

  2. Maybe court can also rule on self-declaration of independence of so-called “United States of America.”  

  3. The speed of the proceedings may be partly explained by the fact that the Court is going to give an Advisory Opinion, not a Judgment. In advisory proceedings, where there are no parties that could influence the length of time-limits etc., the Court can act reasonably fast. For instance, the hearings in the advisory proceedings on the Israeli Wall were held in February 2004 and the Opinion was delivered in July 2004.

  4. This is in line with the expected timeline when the process began. As Tobias pointed out it’s an advisory opinion and not a judgment. The time original time estimates for the process were 6-12 months from the date of the hearing.
    Since Ratko Mladic was not involved in any events in Kosovo (being the military commander of Bosnian Serb forces and in “retirement” since 1995) I doubt that his arrest would have any influence on the outcome. As far as political machinations go, I don’t have much expectations of this.
    The feeling I get from the Western (EU and US) officials is that the opinion is likely to come against the unilateral declaration, but not decidedly so, and they will ignore it or reinterpret it in their favour. Serbian and Kosovo officials don’t really care about the outcome, they both see this as purely a PR stunt that will have no effect on the situation.
    In matters of international law and Balkans it would be a precedent if something was done according to law, rather than against it.

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