Kosovo

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Setting the Cat amongst Pigeons: Kosovo’s Application for Membership of the Council of Europe

Kosovo is one of the few places in Europe not party to the European Convention on Human Rights due to a legacy conflict with Serbia. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 after a bloody war followed by a period of international administration, but this is strongly disputed by Serbia which claims exclusive sovereignty over the entire territory. The conflict has given rise to a protracted stalemate which has directly limited Kosovo’s ability to engage with, and benefit from, Europe’s human rights protection system. In spite of this, for more than 10 years, successive Kosovo Governments have committed to applying for membership of the Council of Europe (CoE) imminently. In 2013, then Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, made the most decisive moves towards lodging an application, describing it as the “next natural step” following Kosovo’s admittance to the CoE Development Bank and the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission). However, the letter of application never came. Then on 12 May 2022, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign…

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Recognition

Tonight President Putin gave a long televised speech announcing the Russian Federation’s recognition of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk republics in Eastern Ukraine as independent states. He also announced the signing of treaties of friendship and assistance with the two supposed newly independent states. This probably took place earlier in the…

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The Luxembourg Court Rules on the Difference between States and Countries as International Law Actors

On 23 September 2020, the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) in Case T-370-19 Kingdom of Spain v. European Commission rendered a judgment that will surely become an important footnote in any textbook of public international law dealing with treaties and subjects. In this case, the GCEU ruled, among others, on whether certain acts…

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On Hezbollah, Huawei, Homosexuality, Sharon Stone and a Chainsaw: The Economic Normalization Agreement between Serbia and Kosovo

On September 4, 2020, an economic relations agreement was signed between Serbia and Kosovo, as part of efforts to resolve the long-standing dispute about Kosovo’s independence. It was brokered by the Trump administration and signed at the White House. President Trump called the agreement historic and its signatories – the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and Prime Minister…

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The Applicability of the ECHR in Contested Territories; Two Other ECHR Cases Against Russia

Earlier this week the European Court of Human Rights decided Sandu and Others v. the Republic of Moldova and Russia, nos. 21034/05 etc, the latest in its Ilascu line of cases (see here and here for more background). As in its previous case law, the Court in Sandu found that both Moldova and Russia exercised…

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