World Court Says Kosovo's Independence Legal

The International Court of Justice has given an unbinding ruling on Thursday saying Kosovo's unilateral secession from Serbia as legal, dealing a major blow to the issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity of many nations around the world. The UN court president, Hisashi Owada, said international law does not contain any "prohibition on declarations of independence". The opinion was arrived at after a 10-4 vote by court judges. Serbia, which considers Kosovo as its territory, moved the UN General Assembly which in turn sought the opinion of the world's highest court on the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo. Following NATO's military intervention in 1999, Serbian forces withdrew from Kosovo, which witnessed bloody clashes forcing about 1.9 million ethnic Albanians suppressed by Serbian troops to seek independence. Kosovo remained under the UN administration and declared independence in February 2008, which was supported by 69 of the UN member-nations including the US, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia.