Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Kosovo Cannot Be the End of International Law

Kosovo-Metohija is the very heart and soul of the Serbian nation. Kosovo province is to Serbs what Westminster Abbey is to Britons, Paris is to the French or Jerusalem is to the three world religions. It is not something the Serbian nation is willing to surrender to NATO, Albanian Muslims or the US State Department, however mighty they might think they are, and however persistently they demand to steal it.

The Serbian province of Kosovo, administered by NATO since June 1999, is the fourth region with the highest corruption rate in the world, right after Albania, according to a report from the organization Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog based in Berlin. Transparency International’s 2007 Global Corruption Barometer showed that the Kosovo province under the NATO-imposed Albanian KLA criminal gang, well known for illegal drug trade and human trafficking, is among the most corrupt regions in the world today.

Unemployment is high and the farcical “election” recently held generated an extremely poor turnout showing that there is little effort or basis for such a pseudo political process. Sixty-seven percent of Kosovo province residents have stated they have to pay bribes to get services. The criminal governance of Kosovo does not meet any criteria whatsoever for a legal secession from Serbia.

They are not self-sustaining, they have no viable political process, they have no historical connection to the land, they were offered wide autonomy by Serbia and they have no claims whatsoever regarding mistreatment by Serbian authorities, so no legal condition exits by which such unilateral action can be considered by the international community. Those who would encourage such illegal action should also consider that Kosovo is completely dependent on SERBIA for all its electricity and, like the rest of Europe, Kosovo also needs Russian GAS for heating.

Unilateral declaration of independence would constitute a violation ofUN Security Council Resolution 1244 as well as the UN Charter, and it will subsequently be null and void in the UN. Russia, which holds a veto in the U.N. Security Council, will demand that any such decision be cancelled or be annulled. Washington and most EU member states support Kosovo independence. Albanians say they will declare independence within months. Without approval from the UN, any recognition given would completely lack legitimacy or a legal basis.

Since the NATO war of aggression was a crime against international peace and, therefore, gives rise to international responsibility, the international community is duty-bound to mount an appropriate response, and that does not include allowing declarations of independence which would slice away fifteen percent of Serbian territory. When all peaceful options are exhausted, Serbia has a right under all provisions of international law to force the aggressor out of its territory in accordance with article 51 of the UN Charter. Yugoslavia was and Serbia is a UN member state.

The UN Charter's prohibition of member states of the UN attacking other UN member states is central to the purpose for which the UN was founded in the wake of the massive death and destruction of World War II: to prevent war. This prevailing concern is also reflected in the Nuremberg Trials' concept of crimes against peace, "starting or waging a war against the territorial integrity, political independence or sovereignty of a state, or in violation of international treaties or agreements..." (crime against peace), was held to be the crime that makes all war crimes possible.

The provision on the inviolability of state sovereignty was elaborated in the Declaration on the Principles of International Law adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1970, which in particular defines aggression as follows:

"The first use of armed forces by a state in contravention of the Charter shall constitute prima facie evidence of an act of aggression..."

This is the Helsinki Final Act from 1 August 1975, upon which resolution 1244 calls: I Defining sovereignty: "The participating States will respect each other's sovereign equality and individuality as well as all the rights inherent in and encompassed by its sovereignty, including in particular the right of every State to juridical equality, to territorial integrity and to freedom and political independence. They will also respect each other's right freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems as well as its right to determine its laws and regulations."

In III Inviolability of frontiers: "The participating States regard as inviolable all one another's frontiers as well as the frontiers of all States in Europe and therefore they will refrain now and in the future from assaulting these frontiers. Accordingly, they will also refrain from any demand for, or act of, seizure and usurpation of part or all of the territory of any participating State."

In IV Territorial Integrity of States: "The participating States will respect the territorial integrity of each of the participating States. Accordingly, they will refrain from any action inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations against the territorial integrity, political independence or the unity of any participating State, and in particular from any such action constituting a threat or use of force. The participating States will likewise refrain from making each other's territory the object of military occupation or other direct or indirect measures of force in contravention of international law, or the object of acquisition by means of such measures or the threat of them. No such occupation or acquisition will be recognized as legal."

Russia has warned the West that recognizing a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo Albanians would set off a chain reaction of problems in the Balkans and beyond. "I want to stress that a unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo and recognition of such independence will not remain without consequences," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a visit to Nicosia. "It will create a chain reaction throughout the Balkans and other areas of the world," he said, speaking through an interpreter after talks with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.

What are the real reasons behind the West strongly pushing this issue at this time? Are they nostalgic for war in Europe again? Are they attempting to force Russia to reciprocate in kind on Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Why not just leave Kosovo's status as is and continue negotiations? How do they explain to the people at home that they are fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, yet they have been protecting them in Kosovo and Bosnia? Analysts warn that the Kosovo precedent may set into motion separatists in Spain, Belgium and Britain.

Western media has been claiming that there were two million Albanians in Kosovo. They have also been underestimating the number of Serbs living there, who constitute approximately twenty-five percent of the population. The constant claim in the Albanian and Western press that there are “close to two million ethnic Albanians” in Serbian province is false, and the latest “elections“, where only around 43 percent of Albanian voters have taken part (minus the Serbs of course), have confirmed the earlier census data according to which there is no more than 1.1 - 1.2 million ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

If there is only around one million ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province, that also means that there is at least 25 percent Serbs remaining in Kosovo which is significantly more than the commonly repeated number that 10 or even only 5 percent of Serbs remain in Kosovo-Metohija.

The Danish People’s Party broke for the first time with the VK [ruling coalition] government over an essential foreign policy question. The party refused to support the recognition of Kosovo.

The Danish People’s Party wrote in a letter to the foreign minister that the international community is setting out to do an injustice to Serbia, and the decision to recognize Kosovo will violate the UN charter, which emphasizes the member countries’ territorial integrity.

After horrendous and incredible sacrifices during two world wars, Serbs have been egregiously betrayed by former allies in favor of Albanians who sided with and served Hitler and the Axis. Serbs have had to endure the dissolution of the state of Yugoslavia in which they were not only ethnically cleansed and purged from every one of the former Yugoslav republics, but also falsely and wrongly singled out as both the instigators of each of the civil wars and perpetrators of the worst crimes conceivable.

Is this what the west, the empire, stands for?

Rewarding criminals, terrorists and alliances with and services to Hitler? Does international law get set aside and eliminated for the interests of corporate elitists seeking power, control and enrichment? It would seem that the lessons of history have been lost on them and that they have forgotten why these laws were enacted and why the UN was created.

Lisa KARPOVA

PRAVDA.Ru

USA/CANADA

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