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Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

19.11.08: 'Balkan wars' move to UN court - 0 views

  • Battlefields are no longer the place to solve conflicts in the Balkans. In recent days and weeks, several bilateral conflicts involving countries in the region, which are also hindering their EU accession prospects, are moving to more dignified surroundings: the International Court of Justice at the un.
  • Background: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the united Nations (un). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the united Nations and began work in April 1946.  The seat of the court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs of the united Nations, it is the only one not located in New York .  The court's role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised united Nations organs and specialised agencies.  Although the un International Court of Justice's opinion is advisory, without binding effect, it nevertheless remains that the authority and prestige attached to the court's advisory opinions, especially when the organ or agency concerned endorses that opinion, means that its decisions are often sanctioned as such by international law. 
  • In a very short timeframe, several conflicts between Balkan countries have been referred to the un's highest court.  In the first of a recent string of lawsuits, Serbia tested the legality of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence before the Hague Tribunal in October (EurActiv 09/10/08), while on Monday (17 November), Macedonia instituted proceedings against Greece after its neighbour long-time foe had blocked its NATO bid over a name dispute (EurActiv 02/04/08).  Yesterday (18 November), Croatia won the right to sue Serbia for genocide after the court ruled that it had the legal power to decide on the case. In return, Serbia indicated that it would sue Croatia for war crimes. 
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  • Olli Rehn, the EU enlargement commissioner, recently expressed regret over this practice, adding that he would prefer to see bilateral issues solved in a bilateral framework (EurActiv 06/11/08). 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.05.08: EU, UN in talks to share leadership of Kosovo mission - 0 views

  • The legal problems encountered by EU-Lex, the EU mission in Kosovo, could soon be solved, with diplomats currently in talks over plans to share the leadership with unMIK, the united Nations peace-keeping mission.
  • Background: The EU decided in February 2008 to deploy a 2,200 strong 'Rule of Law' mission to Kosovo under the name 'EU-Lex Kosovo'. Its deployment has already started, after having been delayed for both technical and political reasons.  The initial objective was for EU-Lex to take over from unMIK, the civilian mission established in the Serbian province following the adoption of un Security Council Resolution 1244 in June 1999. But Serbia and Russia strongly protest against EU-Lex, because this mission has not been endorsed by the un Security Council (EurActiv 16/04/08). The objective of setting up an EU mission in Kosovo is highly political. The EU has ambitions to take over the post-crisis management of a territory on European soil. It previously failed to do so in 1999 when it had to resort to NATO to stop the ethnic cleansing and acts of extreme violence perpetrated by the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. 
  • Under plans originally foreseen by the EU, the 2,200 strong EU-Lex mission would eventually replace UnMIK as the leading rule-of-law mission in the new-born state of Kosovo.  But faced with rejection from Serbia and Russia, which have both challenged the mission's legal legitimacy, diplomats are now drawing up plans for the two missions to co-exist Under joint command.  The solution would provide the EU with a face-saving trick, according to diplomats who were speaking to EurActiv on condition of anonymity. This is because UnMIK has already been accepted by Serbia and Russia, which has a permanent seat at the Un Security CoUncil. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

27.11.08: UN approves EU Kosovo mission - 0 views

  • The United Nations Security CoUncil on Wednesday (26 November) gave the green light to a plan by Un Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the deployment of an EU civilian police and justice mission in Kosovo. Under the plan, the EU mission is to assume police, justice and customs duties from the Un, while remaining neutral regarding Kosovo's status and operating Under the 1244 resolution that first placed Kosovo Under Un administration in 1999.
  • Belgrade does not recognise Kosovo's independence and still considers it a part of its territory. It had fears that agreeing to EULEX deployment would imply silent recognition of the new situation. It had insisted that the EU mission be "status neutral," while on the other hand Pristina was angry at Belgrade's interference and insisted that as an independent state, it should take its own decisions. Despite the two sides' divergent positions, and Kosovo's persistent opposition to a six-point plan backed by Belgrade, an agreement was reached earlier this week that both Kosovo and Serbia would accept and co-operate with the EU mission.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

13.06.08: EU and UN to work side-by-side in Kosovo mess - 0 views

  • The EU's police and civil administration mission for Kosovo, EULEX, is set to start work side-by-side with the existing UN mission, UNMIK, in a legal and organisational mess surroUNding Kosovo's struggle to establish independence.
  • A new UN resolution drafted in 2007 was to see UNMIK cede powers to the government of an independent Kosovo, supported by the 2,200-strong EULEX police and customs force and overseen by an EU special representative and his International Civilian Office. Russia blocked the new UN resolution but Kosovo declared independence UNilaterally on 17 February, creating the current situation in which just 20 of the 27 EU states have recognised Kosovo independence and just 300 EULEX officials have so far been deployed.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

18.08.10: Brussels backs Kosovo bid to join international bank - 0 views

  • The European Commission has endorsed Kosovo's bid to join the international bank, the EBRD, as Pristina continues to strive for credibility on the world stage.
  • Five out of the 27 EU countries and 22 out of the 63 EBRD member countries do not recognise Kosovo. But if one of the 22 EBRD non-recognisers changed position, it would be enough for Pristina to secure the 75 percent vote needed to join the London-based body. un membership is for the time being out of the question due to the hostility of Russia, a un veto-wielding power, in a situation preventing Kosovo from joining other institutions, such as the International Olympic Committee, the football authority FIFA and the Internet top-line domain name authority, ICAAN. Kosovo in 2009 did join the IMF, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank however, in developments touted by its diplomats as proof of progress toward de jure statehood. Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in a comment for EUobserver earlier this week said the ICJ ruling should open the way for more un members to switch sides.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

25.10.10: Serbien kommt EU-Beitritt ein kleines Stück näher - 0 views

  • Die Europäische Union hat Serbiens ÖffnUng für Gespräche mit seiner abtrünnigen ehemaligen Provinz Kosovo belohnt Und eine weitere Hürde auf dem Weg des Balkanlandes in die EU beiseite geräumt. Die EU-Außenminister beschlossen am Montag in Luxemburg einstimmig, die EU-Kommission mit einer StellUngnahme zum Beitrittsgesuch Serbiens zu beauftragen. Sollte diese positiv ausfallen, stünde als nächstes eine EntscheidUng über den Beginn von BeitrittsverhandlUngen an. Serbien hatte sich im September zu einem Dialog mit der RegierUng im Kosovo bereiterklärt Und darauf verzichtet, in den Vereinten Nationen neue VerhandlUngen über den Status des Kosovo zu fordern. Die EU Unterstrich zugleich, dass die vollständige Kooperation der RegierUng in Belgrad mit dem internationalen KriegsverbrechertribUnal in Den Haag eine Unerlässliche BedingUng für eine Aufnahme in die Gemeinschaft ist. Konkret fordert die EU die Festnahme des ehemaligen serbischen Militärchefs in Bosnien Ratko Mladic, einer der Verantwortlichen für den Bosnien-Krieg, sowie des ehemaligen serbischen Politikers in Kroatien, Goran Hadzic. Auch er wird als Kriegsverbrecher gesucht. Mladic wird schon lange in Serbien vermutet. Un-Chefankläger Serge Brammertz hatte Serbien im JUni vorgeworfen, die ErgreifUng Mladics nicht gezielt zu verfolgen. Brammertz regelmäßige Berichte über Serbien sind eine wichtige EntscheidUngsgrUndlage für die EU-Außenminister. "Wenn wir ihn heute finden, werden wir ihn noch heute festnehmen", sagte der serbische Vize-Ministerpräsident Bozidar Djelic in Luxemburg. Die EU-Außenminister bekräftigten, dass jeder einzelne Schritt im Aufnahmeverfahren von der vollständigen Kooperation mit dem TribUnal abhänge Und einstimmig von den 27 EU-Staaten beschlossen werden müsse. Darauf bestanden die Niederlande. Sie sind gegenüber Serbien besonders strikt. Zum einen hat das Un-TribUnal seinen Sitz in den Niederlanden. Außerdem waren es die niederländischen Un-Blauhelm-Truppen, die das Massaker an den rUnd 8000 Bosniern in der Un-Schutzzone Srebrenica 1995 nicht verhinderten.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.07.10: Van Rompuy's Balkan visit focuses on Kosovo - 0 views

  • On his first tour of the Western Balkan, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy condemned the recent violence in Kosovo and called for restraint and dialogue. An extraordinary session of the un Security Council will be held on the matter today (6 July).
  • Serbia unhappy with pace of EU integration Later in the day, Van Rompuy met with Serbian President Boris Tadić in Belgrade. According to an official communiqué, the two leaders discussed the situation in "Kosovo and Metohia," as Belgrade officially calls its former province. The press also reported that Tadić will attend an extraordinary session of the un Security Council in New York today, called at the initiative of Serbia. According to the statement, Tadić voiced his dissatisfaction with the slowdown in the European integration process, and insisted that speeding up Serbia's EU accession was crucial for the future of the Western Balkans. Last month, Serbia took another step towards EU integration when EU foreign ministers agreed to start implementing an accord with Serbia known as the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). The agreement had been blocked for several years, mainly as a result of the Netherlands' insistence that Belgrade must cooperate fully with the un war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Later today, Van Rompuy will be in Pristina to meet the president of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu. A visit to the headquarters of the EU's rule of law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is also on the agenda.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

31.08.10: EU tells Serbia to give up Kosovo 'last battle' - 0 views

  • Serbia has tabled an initiative to push through a resolution in the UN General Assembly declaring UNilateral secession by Kosovo as "UNacceptable". But major EU coUNtries warned Belgrade that it should seek solutions to its problems in Brussels, not New York. Beta agency, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, reports.
  • Unhappy with the International Court of Justice's ruling that Kosovo's independence declaration did not violate international law (EurActiv 23/07/10), Serbia has taken the issue to the Un, hoping for a more sympathetic approach from its members to the issue of territorial integrity. The draft resolution calls for fresh talks on all outstanding issues, but also condemns Kosovo's Unilateral declaration of independence. Belgrade plans to get it adopted at a session which starts in mid-September. As reported by international agencies, the EU has warned Belgrade that insisting on the resolution could harm relations with Brussels and eventually its aspirations to join the EU.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.09.10: Internal discussions in Serbia on UN adoption of Kosovo Resolution - 0 views

  • Belgrade has praised the UN General Assembly's adoption of a resolution on Kosovo that calls for dialogue between the state and Serbia. Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said the decision on Thursday night was an important move as it ended the process Serbia had started by requesting a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice, ICJ, on Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.
  • Some opposition parties in Serbia were quick to label the adoption "a defeat and shame for the Serbian people". Dragan Todorovic from the opposition Serbian Radical Party, SRS, called Thursday's adoption the "most shameful and hardest hit" that Serbia had suffered in its history. "Everyone who watched the session could see how Serbia has lost Kosovo, for which it has been fighting for generations in only one way," Todorovic told Balkan Insight.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

08.09.10: EU should facilitate Kosovo-Serbia talks, show new muscle - 0 views

  • A rare combination of events offers the EU the opportunity to help Serbia and Kosovo resolve their differences, establish relations and unblock their paths to further European integration. The 22 July International Court of Justice (ICJ) opinion that found Kosovo's declaration of independence violated no international law or un Resolution, a September discussion in the un General Assembly on Kosovo, an invitation to mediate by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, and unprecedented domestic support for Prime Minister Hashim
  • Possibly, it only wants talks that discuss Kosovo's status, inherently delaying other countries' decisions to join the 69 states that have already recognised. But this delaying tactic is not going to work, and there will be no EU facilitated dialogue if Serbia does not accept to sit down with Kosovo as an equal. The encouraging news is that some high level officials in Serbia seem to recognise this. They are interested in moving forward with their EU candidacy and feel Kosovo as an albatross holding them back. They want to find mutually acceptable solutions with Pristina which could pave the way for recognition.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.12.08: EU Kosovo mission delayed amid protests - 0 views

  • The deployment of EULEX, the EU's police and justice mission in Kosovo, is to start on 9 December, a week later than planned, it was announced on Tuesday (2 December), as several thousand Kosovo Albanian demonstrators took to the streets of Pristina to protest against the deployment.
  • Under a plan approved by the United Nations Security CoUncil last week, some 2,000 EU police, justice and customs officials will take over Un duties in Kosovo. It also foresees the EU mission being deployed Under a Un mandate and take a neutral position regarding Kosovo's status – something which pleases Belgrade, but enrages Pristina.
  • Kosovars also fear the mission as planned will effectively partition their country, populated by 90 percent Albanians, and a minority of Serbs, mostly in the northern areas. "For us, it is important ... to see EULEX deployed as soon as possible across [the whole of] Kosovo," President Fatmir Sejdiu said Tuesday, adding that he did not "understand the delays," DPA writes.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

18.11.08: Athens and Macedonia in UN ourt over name dispute - 0 views

  • Athens on Tuesday (18 November) strongly criticised Skopje's decision to file a complaint against Greece with the International Court of Justice (IJC), and accused it of hindering the process of finding a solution to the "name issue" that has been poisoning relations for 17 years.
  • On Monday, EU membership candidate Macedonia started legal proceedings against Greece at the ICJ, accusing the country of not complying with its international obligations at a NATO summit held in Bucharest earlier this year, when it blocked an invitation to Skopje to join the organisation because of the unresolved name dispute between them.
  • Greece has been refusing to recognise its neighbour's constitutional name - the Republic of Macedonia - since it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 as a northern region in Greece is also called Macedonia and Athens fears allowing Skopje to use the name will open the way to territorial claims. It also believes the name is part of its own historical heritage. But under Article 11 of the un Interim Agreement signed between them in 1995, Athens has committed not to object to Skopje's application to join any "international, multilateral and regional organisations and institutions" of which Greece is part, provided that it applies under the provisional name foreseen in the deal – Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.01.09: Member states divided over condemning Israeli attacks on UN - 0 views

  • European Union member states are sharply divided over whether to condemn Israel for its bombing of Un schools and other buildings during its 23-day war on Gaza. Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania are opposed to condemning the shelling of Un Relief and Works Agency infrastructure and do not want the EU to call for an international investigation of alleged war crimes by both Israel and the Hamas governors of Gaza, according to sources close to discussions amongst EU diplomats.
  • At the other end of the table, a coalition of five member states, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Sweden, is demanding that the bloc call for an international investigation in its conclusions to come out of a meeting of EU foreign ministers next week.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.06.08: Western Balkans on EU agenda - 0 views

  • After a re-run of the general election in Macedonia and the entry into force of Kosovo's new constitution on Sunday, EU foreign ministers will convene today (16 June) to review the situation in the neighbouring Western Balkans.
  • Ministers will likely welcome the peaceful re-run of parliamentary elections in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Sunday, just two weeks after ethnic violence marred the first elections on 1 June. 
  • While Kosovo is not on the foreign ministers' agenda, it is unlikely that they will be able to avoid the topic, after the fledgling state's constitution entered into force on Sunday.  The EU is also poised to take over policing and justice tasks from the united Nations after the un's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week put forward proposals to "reconfigure" the activities of the un Mission unMIK to allow the EU to deploy its contested EU-Lex police mission there (EurActiv 29/05/08).  "It is my intention to reconfigure the structure and profile of the international civil presence [...] enabling the European union to assume an enhanced operational role," said the secretary general in letters to Kosovo and Serbian leaders.  But the handover, which is foreseen in Kosovo's constitution, remains strongly opposed by both Serbia and Russia, who insist that the EU mission is illegal because it has not been approved by the un Security Council. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.10.09: EU group of three to attack Kosovo statehood at UN court - 0 views

  • Three EU states will in a UN court case in December argue that Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence was illegal. But EU officials say the judges' decision will not impact Kosovo's "irreversible" new status. Spain, Romania and Cyprus will join Serbia and Russia in giving anti-Kosovo depositions during hearings from 1 to 11 December at the UN's top legal body, the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
  • Spain, Romania and Cyprus together with Slovakia and Greece declined to recognise Kosovo's independence last year. But the group of three's involvement in The Hague procedure marks a shift from passive to active resistance against Kosovo statehood. With Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands and the US set to make pro-Kosovo statements at the UN hearings, the verdict, which is expected in early 2010, could go either way.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

04.05.11: EU finds a clearer voice in the UN - 0 views

  • Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will at last have the right to speak at the United Nations General Assembly, following a vote held yesterday (3 May).
  • A vote in the 192-nation General Assembly saw 180 countries come out in favour of granting the EU 'super observer' status, which does not give the bloc voting rights but will allow the High Representative to speak on behalf of the European union.
  • With this resolution, the General Assembly acknowledges that since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the High Representative of the union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, the European Commission and the EU Delegations have represented the union externally in accordance with the Treaties, Van Rompuy stated.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

30.08.10: Serbia open to EU compromise on Kosovo - 0 views

  • Cracks in Serbia's long-uncompromising position on Kosovo appeared on the weekend as President Boris Tadic said his country is open to discussing a compromise over its un General Assembly resolution. In July, following a ruling by the International Court of Justice that Kosovo's 2008 unilateral declaration of independence was not in violation of international law, Belgrade submitted a resolution with the General Assembly declaring "unilateral secession is not an acceptable way to solve territorial issues" and calling for a "mutually acceptable solution to all open issues".
  • Last week, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle bluntly told Serbia: "Kosovar independence is a reality," and: "The map of southeastern Europe has been laid down and completed." He also suggested that Belgrade's acquiescence on this fact was necessary before Serbia could join the EU, despite five existing member states refusing to recognise the breakaway region.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

10.09.10: Kosovo Hails 'Victory' With UN GA Resolution - 0 views

  • Kosovo's government has declared a victory at the UN General Assembly after it adopted a resolution calling for talks between Pristina and Belgrade. Officials in Pristina said on Friday that the modified resolution supported by all the EU member states and the US was in "full harmony with the new reality in Kosovo". The modified document, agreed by Belgrade after two days of intense pressure from Brussels, excludes the issue of Kosovo’s status in future dialogue with Serbia.
  • But, not everyone in Kosovo saw the new resolution as a "done deal" with Serbia. Ibrahim Makolli, the vice president of the Kosovo’s opposition party, the New Kosovo Alliance, AKR, told Balkan Insight: “I don’t see any reasons why Kosovo’s government is euphoric in this event since it was not a participant in drafting this document.” Makolli said Serbia’s agreement with the EU on the resolution should worry Kosovo’s government. “Kosovo’s government needs to know what the promises are from the EU to Serbia for this compromise. In fact, they know, but they are silent,” he said.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.11.10: 'Wrong answers' on Kosovo could block Serbia's EU candidacy - 0 views

  • When EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule hands his 'questionnaire' over to the Serbian authorities during his visit to Belgrade next week, the recipients may wish to take a step back and reflect carefully before they sit down to formulate their responses. Serbia's replies to the list of questions will largely determine the European Commission's assessment of the country's readiness to become an EU candidate, and a few 'wrong' answers on Kosovo could easily compromise the process.
  • Either the European Commission or the Council of Ministers could advise against granting Belgrade candidate status or the decision could be put on hold until Belgrade has clarified contested positions, according to EU officials dealing with Serbia. The questionnaire itself is 'status neutral' regarding Kosovo, and takes into account un Resolution 1244, which set up an international military presence in Kosovo in 1999. "Serbian answers should be status neutral and respect un Resolution 1244 as well," an EU member state diplomat told WAZ.EUobserver. "That means Serbia will not be forced to recognise Kosovo's independence in the questionnaire but Belgrade should accept in the answers the reality that Kosovo is not under Serbian sovereignty or control."
  • "Some important EU countries have already signalled they will veto Serbia's candidate status if Belgrade tries to use the questionnaire to affirm sovereignty and territorial integrity in Kosovo," an EU diplomat warned. A positive opinion by the commission is usually essential for an aspiring country to become an official candidate. The only exception so far has been Greece, which became a candidate in spite of a negative assessment by the Brussels-based executive.
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  • "It is imaginable that the commission gives a positive opinion on Serbia without Ratko Mladic being arrested," said a source in the EU Council of Ministers. "But it is unimaginable, after the council conclusion last month in Luxembourg, that the EU [member states] will find the unanimity required to grant candidate status to Serbia without Ratko Mladic being arrested and transferred to the Hague tribunal prison in Scheveningen."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

17.11.08: Kosovo still opposed to EU police mission, PM says - 0 views

  • Pristina is still opposed to the compromise deal between Serbia, the European Union and the United Nations on the deployment of EULEX, the EU's police and justice mission in Kosovo, and its stance will not change, Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, said on SUnday (16 November). "Kosovo will not change its position. It is the points of this plan that need to change. We have a state position and we will defend that position Until the end," Mr Thaci was reported as saying by Serbian news portal B92.net.
  • Under pressure from Belgrade, the Un presented a revised six-point plan to Kosovo leaders last week, Under which EULEX would be neutral regarding Kosovo's status and would enter the Serb-dominated parts of Kosovo. Pristina considers that the revised proposal clashes with its interests, however.
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