Former Serbian legal team leader Tibor Varadi: ICJ decision expected by July 27

Former Serbian legal team leader Tibor Varadi said that the ICJ would give its opinion on Kosovo by July 27 at the latest.

He told Belgrade daily Večernje Novosti that the “latest speculation” indicated the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of Kosovo Albanians’ unilaterally proclaimed independence would be made public in between July 22-27.

“If the opinion states that it goes against international law, this would spur a new debate at the United Nations General Assembly,” the international law professor said.

It was the General Assembly, at the request of Serbia, that originally forwarded the case to the ICJ.

Varadi told the newspaper that this UN body does not have an obligation to schedule a debate once the court gives its opinion, adding that a UN member-state would have to initiate such a debate.

Varadi said that the question posed to the ICJ was “fairly straightforward”, so it would be “hard to imagine that the answer could be any different”.

Even though the court is expected to give a clear opinion on the matter, Varadi said that if the decision was not unanimous, the individual judges who did not agree with the ruling would be stating their own opinions on the issue.

However, the ICJ council makes its decision based on the majority of votes from the judges, which makes the decision official, but not obligating or legally binding in any way, though Varadi said that it would have “political weight”.

Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians made the proclamation in February 2008. Belgrade rejected it as an illegal act of secession.

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