From Opinio Juris, A weblog dedicated to reports, commentary, and debate on current developments and scholarship in the fields of international law and politics
Does Kosovo's Independence Violate International Law?
by Julian Ku
I am not really sure, but the erosion of the U.N. system and international law is something that is part of every Serbian and Russian government spokesman on this issue. And there is certainly some plausibility to this argument, as I understand it. U.N. member states are supposed to recognize the territorial sovereignty of other member states. (See, e.g., UN Charter, Art. 2 ("All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. ")
But Kosovo's nationhood is, quite frankly, a creation of NATO's 1999 military intervention (an intervention that was itself arguably illegal under international law). So the NATO states have "illegally" severed Kosovo from Serbia via an "illegal" military action.
Let's be honest. Neither the Serbs nor the Russians are particularly sympathetic parties here. But this does not completely explain the deafening silence from Western public international law professors on this issue. Or the angry protests from international-law-abiding progressives in the Western world, who raised the "illegality" argument constantly against the Iraq and Afghanistan interventions.
Where is the outrage, or at least the fair-minded analysis? It doesn't have anything to do with the policy preferences of Western international law academics and Western progressives, does it?