Sunday, 2 March 2008

kosovo - an alternative (more authoritative) analysis

It came to light that a professor here seems to know a lot about the issue of kosovo independence, and I've had the privilege to listen to his extemporaneous discussion on the topic. (I will keep his name anonymous but his view is different from mine)

Essentially, he disagrees that the Kosovo Albanians have the right to self-determination. His main disagreement is that the Kosovo Albanians do not qualify as a people but only a minority. To be honest I am not sure if I completely understand it, but I think there are two main points:

Firstly, what about the Albanians in Macedonia and Albania?
Secondly, the Albanians had been a minority enjoying autonomy in Serbia.

I personally don't entirely agree that this is settled; rather, i think it's fairly arguable both ways. The mere fact that one ethnic group is present in more than one territory surely cannot deny their right to self-determination, given the current trend of globalisation and the massive ethnic migration during the dissolution of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. But this is probably a lot more complicated than i envisage.

He has also advanced a major policy argument against recognising Kosovo as an independent State because this would encourage minorities to provoke their own national States to commit human rights abuse against them, and get international intervention, after which they can proclaim independence. Basically he emphasised the fact that the Kosovans started it in the discriminatory policy against the Serbs driving them out of Kosovo in the first place - though Serbia responded in a fairly disproportionate way. And also, there had been a previous political solution to the problem by giving Kosovo autonomy as part of Serbia - meaning independence had been rejected as an option already. That can't change merely by reason of international intervention.

There is also another issue of State responsibility for intervening in matters of other States leading to secession - it is possible that those NATO states that give recognition might incur responsibility. But i think that is contingent upon Kosovo not having a right to self-determination in the first place, and it is also arguable whether recognition constitutes a sufficient intervening act.

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