ICJ Ruling on Kosovo ‘by July’

Pieter Feith, head of the International Civilian Office in Kosovo, believes the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the legality of Kosovo’s independence will be delivered before the end of July.

Speculation in Pristina and Belgrade media had suggested that the advisory opinion would be delayed until November, but Feith told the United States Institute of Peace in Washington on Tuesday he believed the ruling would come earlier.

He said: “The International Court of Justice is expected to provide an advisory opinion on Kosovo‘s declaration of independence before the end of the year.

“In fact I anticipate that this might happen much earlier and even by the end of July.

“It is unlikely to change the commitment of recognising states to Kosovo’s independence. Kosovo’s independence is an irreversible fact.”

He added that the advisory opinion may ‘encourage Kosovo and Serbia to engage more fully on technical issues of practical neighbourly cooperation’.

After Kosovo declared unilateral independence in February 2008, Serbia, who rejects the country’s declaration of independence as illegal, took the case to the ICJ.

The court’s public hearings lasted from December 1 to 11, 2009, while judges have been expected to deliver their opinion in early summer.

From May 24 to 27, the International Civilian Representative is in the U.S. to update key stakeholders on the work of the International Civilian Office.

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