Deadline for answers to ICJ questions

The deadline for providing the answers to the three questions posed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judges expires on Tuesday.

The judges posed the questions to the countries taking part in the nine-day hearing before that court on the legality under international law of the Kosovo Albanian unilateral declaration of independence.

The countries participating in the hearing can, but are not obligated to, provide written answers to the court, after which that public hearing will be closed and the chamber of 15 judges will form an opinion on the legality of the unilateral proclamation.

Judge Abdul Koroma from Sierra Leone asked whether independence was allowed outside of the context of decolonization.

His colleague from Morocco, Mohamed Bennouna, wished to know if Kosovo’s provisional institutions had campaigned for the fall 2007 elections based on a platform saying that they would declare independence unilaterally as soon as they got elected, or if they had presented the independence declaration as an alternative.

Judge Antonio Augusto Cancado Trinidade from Brazil asked about the meaning of the Ramboulliet Agreement, whether it had set the right to secede, and if so, under which conditions.

Upon receiving the requested answers, the chamber of 15 judges, led by Hisashi Owada from Japan, will study the documents presented during the hearing, which lasted December 1-11, as well as any other written statements.

The judges will then, in mid 2010 at the latest, deliver their advisory opinion to the question of whether the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo’s provisional institutions was in accordance with international law, which was forwarded to the highest UN court by the UN General Assembly in October 2008, on Serbia’s initiative.

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