In his interview to the Times the Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci has provided a rather strange and bizarre interpretation of the judgment of the ICJ regarding the autonomy of Kosovo. During he interview Mr Thaci appealed on the remaining 5 countries in the European Union (Spain, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece and Romania) to recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state stating that by not doing so they are breaking international law.
To hear such an interpretation of the ICJ’s judgment is quite staggering, even more so when a Prime Minister of a country recognised by another 69 states makes it. The ICJ judgment simply stated that as there is no international law regulating the one-sided proclamation of sovereignty and because of the specific situation in the Balkan region the steps taken by Kosovo do not go against international law. The judgment was reported in the newspapers as giving credibility to the sovereignty of Kosovo and that the declaration was ‘in line with international law’.
It is easy to see that the newspaper headlines did water down the judgment quite significantly. However it is another thing entirely for Mr Thaci to interpret it in a way that anyone who doesn’t recognise Kosovo is breaking international law. Yet again one needs to point out to the absence of international law on the issue. Thus if there being no international law to govern this means that Kosovo’s declaration of independence is in line with international law then also it must mean that other states not recognising this is also in line with international law. Why? Simply because there is no law to mandatory state what should and what should not be done.
Such a misinterpretation of a judgment by a high government official can severely damage the image of the country and even make it seem as if Kosovo was making threats to the above mentioned five countries, never mind the fact that the judgment was of advisory nature only. But since we’re talking about breaking the law here, maybe Mr Thaci should also look at the domestic law of Serbia that Kosovo is breaking by its existence and then lecture other states on how to be law-abiding countries.