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The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo, handed down in 2010, was the first instance at which the Court had ruled on an unilateral declaration of independence. It stated that there was no objection to the declaration of independence under international law. It was highly controversial, as the Opinion could be seen to set a precedent for endorsing secession more widely.
This book, written by an unparalled team of experts, investigates the interplay between law and politics that took place over Kosovo's independence, both generally and in the specific context of the Advisory Opinion. It investigates how the International Court of Justice became the battleground over which Kosovo's independence was fought, and how the political arguments in favour of Kosovo's independence changed in the legal setting of the Court. It studies what the Court wanted to achieve, whether it succeeded in those aims, and the contentious reception its Opinion received.
The book is structured in five parts, first setting out the historical and political context to the case, focusing on the conflicting narratives of reality within Serbia and Kosovo, of which the ICJ case was only a continuation, and the political arguments for and against Kosovo's independence. Secondly it examines in detail how the case was argued, what were the litigation strategies of the participating states, why some arguments rose to the forefront while others did not. In doing so it will extensively discuss the written and oral pleadings of all the participating states.
Thirdly it analyses the Advisory Opinon itself, as well as things that the Court left unsaid with regard to general international law. Fourthly it looks at the consequences that the Opinion has had on the continuing dispute between Serbia and Kosovo, and how it was received in the international legal sphere. Finally, it examines the broader repercussions the Opinion might have on other cases of secession, even if it was probably designed not to have any.