Kosovo, Albanian and American flags hang on a balcony, marking the second anniversary of Kosovo's independence.

Kosovo's independence ruled 'lawful'

But not everyone’s pleased with the UN’s decision.

THE UN’S INTERNATIONAL Court of Justice has ruled that Kosovo’s 2009 secession from Serbia did not violate international law. Serbia had filed a case with the ICJ in 2009, saying that Kosovo’s declaration was a “flagrant violation” of Serbia’s territorial integrity.

The court’s deliberations were being watched closely by many countries who have separatist factions seeking independent. Spain, which is home to more than one separatist movement, has not recognised Kosovo’s independent, and neither has China.

In 2008, Georgia filed a lawsuit at the ICJ against Russia, saying Russia’s incursion into South Ossetia amounted to ethnic cleansing.

The ruling may have implications for separatists around the world, and could encourage more countries to recognise Kosovo’s independence.

Kosovo’s declaration of independence was recognised by the US, Australia, Canada, and 22 EU member states. It is recognised by 69 out of 192 UN members.

Yesterday, the US pledged to support Kosovo’s independence even if the ICJ had ruled otherwise. Serbia and Russia, which is a permanent member of the UN’s Security Council, refute Kosovo’s claims. Serbia regards Kosovo as a UN-run area within its sovereign territory.

It lost control over Kosovo in 1999 after the 78-day NATO bombing campaign ended the two-year was between Serbia and Kosovar Albanians.