ICO & EULEX & Legality

This Monday Head of the International Civil Office (ICO) Pieter Feith expressed his optimism that EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) would soon have access to the entire terriory of Kosovo, including the northern Serb-dominated area. He also said that an Assembly of Serbs – established last Saturday – with representatives of 24 municipalities in Kosovo, has no legal effect. This statement came after forth meeting of the international Steering Group (ISG) which is described as an international body with the authority to supervise Kosovo´s independence.

Reading this kind of statements I feel, that words as International, Law, Legal, Authority and Independence are used quite flimsy in mainstream media. Let´s look more some definitations:

  • ISG and ICO as international body consists of 25 member countries that have recognized Kosovo´s independence . ISG is like an self-named association more than international body. If e.g. 100 countries those do not have recognized Kosovo´s independence would create similar association it could claim the same authority than ISG.
  • Highest international authority so far is UNSC and in Kosovo case its resolution 1244. Resolution says that UNSC “Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2″
  • Mentioned Annex 2 e.g. says about interim administration, that “Establishment of an interim administration for Kosovo as a part of the international civil presence under which the people of Kosovo can enjoy substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to be decided by the Security Council of the United Nations.”
  • So in conclusion: Kosovo´s Independence is not legal, ISG/ICO administration does not have legal authority under International Law
  • Instead Assembly of Serbs was result of legal elections in Serbian territory and can have some justification at least representing local population in Serb-dominated areas.
  • If EULEX is acting like its name obliges, so it can act lawfully only under UN umbrella and the same is case with ISG/ICO actions in Kosovo.

ISG/ICO and EULEX are in Kosovo case now in headlines. One should remember, that more legal international authorities in Kosovo actions are UN/UNMIK and OSCE which both still are acting status-neutral way.

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