International Legal Responses to Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence
On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence. As of March 6, 2009, fifty-six states have recognized Kosovo’s independence, while a number of states maintain that Kosovo’s declaration of independence is illegal. There is no specific resolution calling for nonrecognition, yet whether an obligation of nonrecognition stems from UN Security Council Resolution 1244 is a highly disputed issue.
Resolution 1244 established an international territorial administration, affirmed Serbia’s territorial integrity, and called for a political process leading to settlement of Kosovo’s future status. Unlike in East Timor, the political process in Kosovo did not result in a prenegotiated path to independence, confirmed by a subsequent Security Council resolution.
This Article analyzes legal positions regarding Kosovo’s declaration of independence and examines the significance of international involvement in the process of state creation. Despite the reference to the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the declaration of independence, Kosovo is an example of unilateral secession from Serbia. This Article concludes that international involvement implies constitutive elements of state creation and that Kosovo has some deficiencies in meeting the statehood criteria.