Legality of Kosovo’s Indepedence

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 20
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Study level: Undergraduate


The independence of Kosovo from the Serbians was a unanimous decision made by Serbian minorities in 2008. However, the international recognition of Kosovo as an independent state has ever been under contention. In fact, United Nations member states have been torn into two on whether to grant Kosovo legal international recognition or not (Bieber, 2003, p. 2). As at 2010, 71 of all United Nations member states have recognized Kosovo as an independent state but Serbia has been on the forefront in disputing the legality of the newly found state (Bieber, 2003, p. 5).

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Kosovo and the wider Serbian territory have been under conflict for more than a decade now and inter-ethnic tensions have been the order of the day. As a result, Yugoslavia has been totally disintegrated into small sub territories, based on political, economic and social disintegration. Yugoslavia’s legality as a federal state has consequently been under the threat of disintegration with fears being registered that it may soon become a loose confederation. For years on end, Yugoslavian regimes have employed tactics of intimidation and political maneuvering which have greatly undermined Kosovo’s independence under the Serbian regime. This system has culturally oppressed the Albanian population, in addition to stripping Kosovo Albanians their human rights (Bieber, 2003, p. 5).

Kosovo Albanians have in the recent past responded by engaging in a non-violent kind of separation where most of their activities are done separately from the Serbian political and social way of life. This has seen the establishment of parallel political and social structures like the establishment of parallel institutions such as schools and hospitals. This system has seen the total independence of Kosovo from the Serbians through a self-made assertion of independence. The Republic of Kosovo has since then established its own independent president and government (Bieber, 2003, p. 5).

The set up of an independent government in Kosovo and the establishment of the republic of Kosovo has been the issue of contention in many international forums and more especially in the United Nations. The problem with Kosovo is therefore largely an international issue as many states are torn between recognizing Kosovo as an independent state or not. Many countries including the US, Turkey, UK and many others have recognized Kosovo’s independence in the international map but other countries such as Russia and India don’t recognize the nation as an independent republic (Abramyan, 2010, p. 90). The UN has never had an opinion towards the legality of the state and neither has the European Union.

The biggest area of concern towards the illegality or legality of Kosovo lies in a number of areas of human rights, equality and formal concerns. Proponents for the legality of Kosovo cite human rights concerns on the minority population in Serbia with a specific reference to the unequal opportunities and cultural isolation of the Armenian pollution. At the same time, critics of the legality of Kosovo note territorial and legality issues in declaring Kosovo an independent state (Bieber, 2003, p. 5). The UN resolution 1244 has also been one of the main arguments for Yugoslavia because it recognizes Kosovo as within Yugoslavia’s territorial boundary and speaks out against any external intervention in solving the impulse between Yugoslavia and its provinces.. However, since this resolution was nonbinding, it wasn’t followed to the latter. Certain communist regimes such as Japan have effortlessly noted that Kosovo’s declaration of independence sets a wrong precedence to the world and other nations by declaring their own autonomy without considering the underlying premises that warrants a nation autonomous. Nonetheless, even amid all this confusion, it remains apparently clear that Kosovo has undergone periods of oppression from the Serbian regime with reduced opportunities and reduced economic potential observed after the country became a province of Serbia. This study therefore identifies that Kosovo’s legality should be embraced by all states.

Background of the Problem

Many countries have in the past expressed their reservations with the way Kosovo declared its independence and such countries have also endeavored to oppose its legality in international politics. The UN has especially been a fighting ground for this kind of conflict with major states that have Veto power in the UN supporting Kosovo’s independence while others totally denying it. For instance, the people’s republic of China does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state but other countries in the Veto union such as the United Kingdom (UK), United States and France all recognize Kosovo’s independence (Koliopoulos, 2009, p. 215). In the same regard, Serbia has consistently quoted the UN resolution 1244 to support its arguments against Kosovo’s independence but NATO has set a bad precedent in international relations by ignoring the resolution’s articles including all affiliated documents such as the Helsinki accord. Russia on the other hand has also come out strongly to oppose the legality of the state, accompanied by other countries such as India which advocate for new negotiations among authorities involved (Koliopoulos, 2009, p. 215).

This argument has even been debated in the International Court of Jurists which passed a controversial ruling that Kosovo never violated any international laws in its quest for independence. In a retaliatory move, Serbia came out strongly to cement its argument from the UN resolution 1244 stating that the agreement solidified its borders and considered Kosovo as part of its territory. However, in a swift rejoinder, Kosovo argued that the resolution never excluded the probability of secession. Considering all these arguments, the International court of Jurists ruled that the UN resolution 1244 was never binding and Kosovo’s’ assertion of independence was completely legal. Observers have noted that the said ruling was bound to set a bad precedent because there are other conflicts of similar nature in the world among countries that want secession from others. Nonetheless, the International Court of Jurists never solved the conflict because Serbia argued that the ruling was not meant to force it to recognize Kosovo as an independent state but to determine whether Kosovo violated any international laws.

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All in all, this conflict traces back to Serbia’s capture of Kosovo during the Balkan wars of 1912; although it later lost control of the territory in both World War I and World War II to the Albanians (Koliopoulos, 2009, p. 215). When the socialistic movement of Yugoslavia was formed, Serbia became a part of it and Kosovo, as a constituent of Serbia, was also absorbed as part of the Serbian republic. However, much of Kosovo was dominated by Albanians and increased nationalistic movements in the province saw Kosovo command a de facto autonomous entity in the Serbian territory; able to influence federal policies and such important facets of governance. However, because of change of regime and installation of new leaders in the Yugoslavian republic, Kosovo’s autonomy was under threat. During this period, Kosovo lost its independence, which it once enjoyed under Tito’s regime, because it became apparently clear that its natives could not easily hold important positions in the country like government positions, while their practice as doctors, lawyers, teachers, policemen and the likes was greatly strained under the Serbian regime.

This situation was contrary to previous ages where Kosovo had its own system of government and practiced self rule. During that time, Kosovo enjoyed its own autonomy and experienced prolonged periods of relative peace and tranquility. The economic situation was also robust with activities and unemployment was not as rampant as it was under the Serbian regime. This is because many industries such as battery factories, shoe factories and other automobile industries existed in the province. Kosovo also enjoyed the freedom to undertake their education practices using the majority Armenian language until this freedom was curtailed under the Serbian regime. A rise in nationalism movements in the 80s greatly affected the freedom, rights, opportunities and living conditions of people in Kosovo, thereby denying many natives the opportunity to grow in political, economic and social fronts.

This led to the formation of a liberation movement which waged an all out war against Yugoslavian forces (Murithi, 2009, p. 55). This war peaked during 1998 and 1999 when it attracted international attention because of the human rights violations in the region and the number of deaths being recorded then. NATO threatened to militarily intervene in the war if Yugoslavia failed to allow international peacekeepers in the region. This threat materialized when NATO sent its troops and started bombing Yugoslavian targets in the wider communist block (even within Kosovo itself) (Delupis, 2000, p. 41). The then regime later succumbed to pressure and agreed to let international peace keeping troops into the territory and also allowed for the governance of the province to be under United Nations. This move led to a ceasefire between Kosovo’s liberal movement and Yugoslavian forces.

The restoration of peace saw the installation of a NATO-led Kosovo liberalist force in the province but the kind of human rights violations that had taken place was already too extensive to ignore. Many Kosovo refugees lived in makeshift camps in the Serbian proper because for the fear of reprisal after the installation of UN governance systems in the region. During the power transfer, more than 100,000 non Albanians and Roma fled the province because they couldn’t bear living under the threat of more attacks from the Albanians because of the widely held perception that they assisted the Serbs in the just concluded war (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 1). The number of refugees thereafter started increasing after the Albanians began intimidating and attacking non-Albanians and Roma who still resided in the Kosovo territory.

In 2002, Montenegro and Serbia played host to more than 277,000 internally displaced people but some agencies have put the figure much lower (Clark, 2002, p. 1). The UN tried to instill a sense of normalcy in the province but the tensions between the non Albanians and Albanians increased to a significant extent in 2004 when a civil war broke out; killing more than 19 people (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 6). Many of Serbian orthodox churches were burnt and huge business investments taken down because of the pogrom against the Serbs which saw thousands of more Serbian authorities flee into Serbian dominated territories.

Since the end of this conflict, Kosovo has been widely known to be a huge prostitution destination in the world and a sex trafficking destination as well; largely because of the existence of NATO forces in the region. Nonetheless, talks thereafter ensued after the war to determine the legal status of the province under Serbian regime. Predictably, a greater portion of Kosovo’s inhabitants demanded complete independence of the province. Proposals by Kosovo demanded a self governing regime in the province where the territory was to be allowed to protect its minority rights and also allowed to have its own flags with its own court of arms logo plus a self governing regime. The European Union and the United States gave the plan their full backing but socialist regimes such as Russia and China came out strongly against the proposals (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 1). This deadlock between the two groups spilled over into the UN Security Council and not much progress could be evidenced thereafter; at least not on the part of the United Nations.

In light of this deadlock, proponents for Kosovo’s independence decided to declare the province its own independent republic by following the blue print of self governance. The new republic thereafter undertook a process to write its own constitution assisted by both local and international scholars; a process which was majorly aimed at protecting the rights of the minority and guaranteeing equal representation of all citizens. This new constitutional order was to take effect in mid 2008, complete with an installation of the court of arms, flag, and a distinct national anthem. The declaration for independence has been the subject of international disputes over the years with the conflict being witnessed at both local and international levels. Locally, the dispute has been between Kosovo Serbs and the Kosovo Albanians. Much of the governance conflict in the new state is also torn under these lines.

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Trend and Magnitude of the Problem

There have been many instances of war crimes targeted at the Kosovo Albanians; majorly by the Serbian regime under Milosevic (Human Rights Watch (Organization), 2001, p. 3). Major crimes perpetrated against the Albanians have been crimes against humanity and crimes perpetrated by the neglect of war laws (Dinstein, 2002, p. 79). However, the conflict has been two-sided because the Kosovo liberal movement has also perpetrated war crimes against Kosovo Serbians. Nonetheless, international bodies have identified the Yugoslavian army (or the Serbians) as having perpetrated a greater part of war crimes against Kosovo Albanians. The influx of Kosovo Serbians into Kosovo Albanian territory has led to the increase of crimes such as rape, kidnappings and murder on both sides of the spectrum.

The election of Milosevic into office greatly rode on the assurance of eliminating such forms of injustices but instead of doing so in a justifiable manner, many war crimes were committed (to the Kosovo Albanians). In a retaliatory move, many Kosovo Albanians started boycotting the laws of the land and state institutions, making the population more radical than they’d ever been in their history (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 3).

The Serbians also reacted in a very brutal manner which earned them international sanctions because of the extensiveness of persecutions it did to its own citizens. The excessive force exercised by the Serbian army led to a series of destruction of property and loss of lives, including a massive exodus of most Albanians from their native homes. These acts were aimed at expelling most Albanians from Kosovo so that the government could continue maintaining control of the province. Many of the atrocious acts were undertaken at Albanian villages where military personnel raped, robbed and killed innocent people with direct orders to evict them from their native homes to Albania or Montenegro (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 3). This became a massive ethnic cleansing process that saw close to a million Albanians move from Kosovo to neighboring regions while a significant population stood internally displaced as a result of the conflict. After the expulsion of Kosovo Albanians from their native homes, the military and paramilitary units thereafter burned their homes. This act was complimented by efforts from the government to carry out identity cleansing where legal documents such as passports, identity cards, license plates and other documents showing the origin and nationalities of the Albanians were destroyed (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 7).

Theoretical Issues

Many reasons have been advanced to explain the emergence of conflicts in various regions across the world. Most of the motivators to war can be best conceptualized by those engaged in the conflict. Nonetheless, the strategic and tactical concepts of war keep on changing because the tones and different forms of conflicts come with their own unique sets of limiting preconditions and peculiar set of preconceptions which are only unique to the parties involved. However, the Serbian – Albanian war has been majorly caused by decades of oppression and cultural suppression of the Kosovo Albanian population. However, the common synonymous factor in all war crimes is the fact that crimes are normally organized and a massive destruction of property and loss of lives thereafter ensue. Universally, the reasons why different parties go to war include economic reasons, ideological or religious reasons and power imbalances. These aspects are further discussed below:

Behavioral Theories

The behavioral theory explains the emergence of war crimes through the violent nature of human beings. In this sense, the theory notes that human beings are bound to adopt hatred sentiments over other peoples’ races, ideologies, religion, ethnic inclinations and the likes (Richardson, 1957, p. 269). This sort of aggressiveness is usually increased through projections and displacements. The behavioral theory notes that states will often try to maintain a sense of normalcy within its borders but at the same time, try to create an outlet of reprieve (for aggrieved parties) through warfare (Judith, 2010, p. 44). This is essentially what happened in the Yugoslavia union because the state offered the Serbians reprieve through war with Albanians and this ended up in massive killings and displacement of the Kosovo Albanians. The behavioral theory further goes on to establish the fact that since war is part of the human nature (as is also supported by many psychological theories); it is very difficult for people to escape its occurrence. Some scholars have noted that the occurrence of war is a form of peculiar way of mourning people’s grievances. In other words, war developed out of the human need to feel loved and appreciated. Reflecting back to the Kosovo conflict, the Albanians needed to be treated as equals in the greater Yugoslavian union and therefore they resorted to war to fill the void they felt within them. According to the behavioral theory, the Albanians can be equated to mourning for all the injustices they had undergone for a greater part of their existence under the Serbian regime. This kind of mourning therefore had to be manifested through war and the crimes that followed it, since it was part of human nature (Judith, 2010, p. 44).

The willingness of the Albanians to fight for their rights is in accordance to the behavioral theory which predicts a willingness to die for sovereignty reasons or for nationalistic reasons because human beings have the ability to give their bodies for the sake of the state (Judith, 2010, p. 44). In other words, the behavioral theory notes that human beings have a peculiar willingness to die for their state. In as much as the behavioral theory explains the occurrence of war crimes on the side of the Serbians and indeed the Kosovo Albanians, it does little to explain the time and the manner in which the war crimes occur. In the same regard, it does very little to explain how human cultures are devoid to the existence of crimes or the development of war. This fact implies that if the innate psychology of humans (with regards to the occurrence of war crimes) is unchangeable, then variations such as the time of occurrence of war and the manner in which the war crimes occur are irrelevant (Judith, 2010, p. 45). A solution advanced by some psychologists to answer this problem observes that the existence of peace is almost nonexistent (Judith, 2010, p. 45). Periods that are normally perceived as peaceful are therefore not times of tranquility but periods where different societies are preparing themselves for other wars.

A big problem with the behavioral theory lays in its applicability because it notes that war crimes are actually perpetrated by the desire to do so, from the general populace, but in reality and through history, there have been very rare instances when war actually occurred from the willingness of the general populace to fight. Moreover, many at times, the general population has been forced into war with certain rulers, as can be evidenced in the Serbian indulgence into war by the Kosovo Albanians. Essentially, the Serbians were driven into war by their leader Milosevic. One psychologist, Maurice Walsh, who actually disputes the general perception that people are naturally inclined to fight, notes that people are usually peaceful in nature until some leader who has total disregard for life is elected into power (Judith, 2010, p. 46). In other unrelated contexts, such leaders can be sampled as Hitler and Napoleon who had a great appetite for war. Indeed, Milosevic also falls in this category. Maurice also notes that such leaders usually get into power during times when citizens are usually in crisis and when the citizens are in need of a decisive leader so when the leaders get the power, they drive the whole nation or society into war (Judith, 2010, p. 46). This is the situation that faced Serbia because the there was an already existent state of tension between the Serbians and the Kosovo Albanians, such that a decisive leader was highly sought by the people and Milosevic rose to power on this platform. However, unfortunately, he drove the nation into war.

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Youth Bulge Theory

The youth bulge theory notes that if a given society has a large male population that’s idle and unemployed, there is a high likelihood of violence occurring. Large, male youth cohorts give rise to the “youth bulge” and with an increase in the level of unemployment, there is bound to be a resultant increase in the risk of crime occurrence (Haas, 1965, p. 308). In relation, Kosovo has in the recent past experienced an increase in crime, not only directed at the Kosovo Serbians but to all inhabitants. This has largely occurred out of a lack of good policing systems after the NATO-led forces took control of the province during the Kosovo war. Kosovo has therefore experienced continued eras of crime, characterized by robbery, muggings, rape and the likes. To a large extent, this has been facilitated by the increase in a youthful population which has nothing to do except, idle around.

The increase in unemployment in Kosovo was essentially brought about by the strip of autonomy from Kosovo and the resultant drop in the living conditions of the country. The change of regime hit the Kosovo population hard because many of the traditional factories in the province were relocated to Serbia and an increase in unemployment quickly followed. Amid this affliction, the Serbian regime suppressed their efforts to have any meaningful representation in government and therefore nobody was in a position of influence or advocate for their rights or bring the affliction of Kosovo Albanians to national attention. Very few people therefore had something significant to do and Kosovo’s economy was brought to its knees as widespread unemployment became the order of the day. This created a sense of hopelessness.

The situation was further aggravated as many Kosovo universities were shut down and Albanian students who wanted to study had to do so in far flung areas such as Belgrade or Serbia. The language of education used was also changed from the native Albanian to Serbian friendly dialects. As the social advancement in the region almost stalled, the level of hopelessness among the youth significantly increased. The situation became much worse when state officials such as teachers, lawyers, nurses and the likes were sequentially fired and instead, Serbian majorities hired to offer the same services.

The Kosovo Albanians therefore had no control of their natural resources in any way, even though most of the natural resources were located within their boundaries. The state was mining important minerals such as zinc, gold, lead and the likes from Kosovo’s territory and diverting the same to Serbian mainland. This factor greatly deprived the Kosovo Albanians a means to earn a living, thereby deploring the living conditions in the province, not only to the bulging youthful population, but also to most families in the region. This state was bound to cause conflict (Haas, 1965, p. 308).

The youth bulge theory focuses on the problem aggravated by a non-inheriting youthful population which has little or no control of the natural resources and who get very minimal positions in the political economic or social structures. This creates a sense of frustration and anxiety in the aggrieved population. Scholars point out that when a population sample experiences a youthful population of about 30% – 40% of the population, chances of wars occurring, when they are frustrated are very high (Haas, 1965, p. 308). This is true because people between the age of 15 -29 (youth) are usually in the prime of their lives and they are majorly in their “fighting age”. When families have approximately 2-8 children, there is bound to be a youthful population increase which is unlikely to be supported by an equal increase of opportunities; because if for example a father has four sons, it means that the father has to look for four more jobs from the economy to support his sons. This is usually almost impossible to achieve. Since it is difficult for families or the economy to support an increase in youthful population, many of the subjects are bound to be angry and direct their adolescent or youthful anger to crime and conflicts; especially to those people they perceive as limiting their chances of making a living (Haas, 1965, p. 308).

This situation largely describes the Kosovo situation because endless decades of inequality have seen a decrease in economic, social and political positions for succeeding; such that, the Kosovo Albanian youth have been left frustrated and anxious. This has necessitated the rise of conflict through demonstrations and acts of violence against the state and to Serbians who are perceived to be the source of the problem. Warfare is therefore an end result of such type of conflict because the Kosovo Albanian youth are demographically superfluous, unemployed or working menial jobs for a long time and feel left out from having a legal sex life because they are incapable of providing for a family. This level of frustration increased, considering the fact that the Serbian youth across the border live a normal youthful life with plenty of opportunities.

A combination of all these stress factors had forced many of the Kosovo Albanian youth to resort to rebel (against the state), violent crime, civil war and the indulge into conflict. These factors had also necessitated the formation of the Kosovo liberal movement, formed by the Albanian youth to liberate their people and fight for the rights of the Kosovo Albanians.

Prevention Practices

Considering the Yugoslavian government was undertaking a lot of civilian persecution on Kosovo Albanians, there was an increased sense of international attention on the crimes perpetrated by the state. NATO was the first to act by pressuring the Yugoslavian government to allow UN peace troops in Kosovo. The Yugoslavian government declined and this forced NATO forces to forcefully enter the province and bomb government bases in the region (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 6). Thereafter, they secured the peaceful retraction of government forces from Kosovo. One of their primary missions in Kosovo was to end the violence and repression instigated by the Serbian forces because humanitarian violations of an epic nature were being committed against the Kosovo Albanians without any external control. NATO also helped expel Serbian military and paramilitary forces that were carrying out war crimes against the Albanians (US Congress, 2010, p. 16051). They did so by establishing an international base in the former Serbian province to monitor the situation on the ground.

Since human displacement of an unprecedented nature occurred; NATO forces helped the internally displaced victims and those coming from external zones to resettle back to their previous homes. This had to be done through guaranteed security by the forces against further military attacks from the Serbians. This opened up access to the victims by humanitarian organizations who were hindered by the Serbian forces from providing any help to the displaced Kosovo Albanians. NATO also helped establish the fist political system to govern Kosovo autonomously, in accordance to international provisions and the UN charter that outlines the framework for governance. This initiative brought in its wake an end to the violence and human suffering in the region.

There was however a state of lawlessness in the province considering there was no strong policing system in Kosovo but NATO tried establishing a sense of government to police the province. Also, considering atrocious crimes against humanity were continually perpetrated by the Yugoslavian government, the International Criminal tribunal was established to persecute persons who bore the greatest responsibilities for the war crimes. Milosevic and other government leaders have were presented before the tribunal court to answer to charges of crimes against humanity (Ball, 2002, p. 37). Other officials who have since been indicted include police heads, army commanders, and public service officials in charge of security. Crimes that were leveled against the officials included population transfer, murder, deportation, persecutions, violations of war laws, and violations of the customs of war (Sell, 2002, p. 324). Many of the officials were acquitted to several years’ imprisonment but Milosevic died before he was sentenced.

The UN has played a vital role in establishing a governing body in the former Serbian province through the United Nation Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (Reka, 2003, p. 1). In this regard, the UN has taken a largely political role in the province to solve the governance vacuum that existed in the province. For instance, the UN has acted as an interface between Belgrade and Pristine through the modification and restructuring of UNMIK (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 12). After the expulsion of the Serbian security forces, the UN has taken a proactive role in training the police and empowering a new administration to take control of the country; not mentioning the establishment of new institutions to support the new administration.

Through the observance of these roles, the UN has had its initial role of maintaining peace between Serbia and Kosovo rendered obsolete after Kosovo declared its independence from the Serbians. Nonetheless, the UN has tried to be neutral to the Kosovo conflict as much as possible but the stand taken by a majority of its member nations has torn the body into two.

The European Union has also been instrumental in trying to establish as sense of order in Kosovo especially in matters to do with policing and strengthening of Kosovo’s institutions. There seems to be a tussle between UN in recognizing Kosovo as a democratic state but the European Union is taking a proactive role from the perception that the Kosovo problem is not essentially an American problem but a European (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 1). In this regard, the European Union has been sending its officials such as judges, prison staff, prosecutors and the likes to strengthen Kosovo’s new government. It has been a widely held belief by the European Union and indeed many international bodies that the strengthening of Kosovo’s democratic institutions will bring a sense of peace and tranquility, similar to the one experienced before the hostile take over by Serbia.

The European Union has also been on the forefront in advancing aid to the once war-torn nation so that its economy can be revamped to jump start social development in the region (Mitra, 2001, p. 68). Kosovo is currently getting a lot of logistical, financial, administrative and military assistance from the UN, NATO and the EU which is expected to establish a sense of harmony and peace in the country; something that has eluded the nation for decades, under the Serbian regime. The international criminal court has also been on the forefront in ensuring justice is accorded to the Kosovo Albanians and indeed even the Serbians who had fallen victim to hostility from the Albanians.


It is important that Kosovo remains an independent state because of the extent of ideological differences between the former Serbian province and Serbia itself. Kosovo Albanians have also suffered endlessly under Serbian territory and the level of cultural identity had been almost totally eroded as well. This is because the Serbian government had undertaken extensive efforts to kill the language and culture of the Kosovo Albanians such that, many Albanians were forced to withdraw their children from mainstream educational systems to study secretly in home based programs. The level of cultural suppression became so severe that newly born Kosovo Albanian children had to be renamed, to sound Serbian. In addition, important social amenities such as power and water were diverted from Albanian homes to Serbian neighborhoods. This could happen almost on a daily basis and last for very long periods. Efforts to protest against these atrocious acts were quickly thwarted by the Serbian military forces and activists who were perceived as threats were either killed or mysteriously disappeared, never to be heard again (Doyle, 2010, p. 262). Human rights violations later became the order of the day because many Albanians were being beaten up to suppress any type of dissent. Civil and political violations were also perpetrated during this era. Collectively, the Kosovo Albanians experienced a lot of suffering under the Serbian rule.

In order for the country to heal from these historical injustices that have been targeted at the Kosovo Albanians; secession seems to be a good option for the state to forge forward in harmony with its neighbors. Autonomy is certainly a discretionary political act but in the case of Kosovo, it becomes justifiable in more ways than one. First, the Serbian government never had an equal representation of all its citizens and it never represented all the characteristics of the state. Instead, it only represented the Serbians and looked down upon Kosovo Albanians. Efforts to represent minority interests by legislators from the Kosovo faction in the Serbian government can easily be quashed or compromised by the largely dominant Serbian population; considering the history of the country’s political system. Equal representation of Kosovo Albanians can therefore not be easily attained if Kosovo remains under Serbian dominance. It is therefore increasingly important that independence is achieved in form of governance because a largely Albanian regime will achieve legitimacy within its territory; something that he Serbian government could not achieve.

Secondly, autonomy implies that a new state will be recognized which means that Albanians will achieve self determination which is universal political right. The will of a majority of the Kosovo population is also inclined towards secession from Serbia and for democracy to be upheld, the will of the people ought to be followed. Partitioning Kosovo from the Serbian country will also necessitate the acquisition of the Northern Kosovska, Mitrosivca and predominantly Serbian regions such as Zvecan, Zubin and neighboring municipalities to the Serbian territory while other Southern regions predominantly dominated by Kosovo Albanians will remain part of Kosovo. It is easy for this to be done because already, there is an unofficial partition of the northern region defining the boundary of the Albanians and the Serbians. In the same regard, most Serbians don’t regard Pristine as the administrative region of Kosovo because they look up to Belgrade as having legitimacy over Kosovo. It is also interesting that United Nations has found it difficult to exert its authority in Belgrade and so has the European Union found it difficult to deploy its personnel (Institute 4s, 2008, p. 12).

It is therefore correct to note that the Northern territory of Kosovo is not cohesive with the rest of the former province and it will be quite difficult to integrate isolated zones with the rest of the province (if not impossible). Partitioning the boundary at the border of the North and South will obviously isolate the north into the Serbian territory, thereby quelling the violence that has been observed since Kosovo declared its independence (Bugajski, 1995, p. 153). However, the biggest problem to this solution is the refusal by all parties to such an agreement. Another problem is that some of the Serbian natives who have infiltrated into Kosovo will be practically isolated if such a solution is effected.

Considering the kind of challenges facing the partitioning of Kosovo into the northern and southern territory, it would still be a viable option to partition the territory, but with the establishment and creation of a Serbian entity of governance so that the Serbians already existing in the country feel secure. This kind of solution is likely to solve the problem of integrating the Northern and Southern parts of the country because Serbian interests would still be accommodated in the new regime. Nonetheless, self determination can only be achieved through total secession from Serbia.


In the past few decades, international politics has been determined by the sovereignty of various states across the globe. In recent years therefore, countries have been able to recognize the sovereignty of neighboring countries which they share borders with. However, the partitioning of nation-states and indeed sovereign states has been majorly based on ethnic, economic and political similarities that characterize the composition of citizens within a given territorial boundary (Wendell, 2008, p. 2). It is interesting to note that Kosovo lacks this sort of equal representation and it does not share the same parameters with the wider Serbian territory. The extent of social, political and ethnic differences is too deep and has been further worsened by a long history of war and oppression. The establishment of parallel social institutions like schools and hospitals explains the level of disharmony the two factions are facing. Basically, Serbia does not represent the true ethnic and social composition of its inhabitants because it did not recognize minority rights within its borders. In so doing, the nation grew into a state of anarchy and deep division which can only be solved through secession because the level of polarization is extensively high.

If Kosovo attains its legitimacy as an independent state, it will have a say in international politics and also be able to attain self determination; a right that has been denied from Albanians for generations. Kosovo can be able to demonstrate its autonomous nature because under universal systems of recognition, it can prove a legitimate claim to its territory, it can govern itself, and has the ability to stand as a nation –state with its own economic, political and social systems (because its has been able to do so in the past). Under universal systems of recognition, Kosovo’s independence is therefore legal. This fact is especially strengthened by the fact that the former Serbian province was able to stand on its own before the takeover by the Serbians since it initially used to enjoy endless periods of peace and tranquility. Recognizing Kosovo as an autonomous state should therefore go beyond legal and legitimacy arguments in accordance with international laws and look at the real issue which is the welfare of the people of Kosovo. In so doing, it will become evidently clear to critics of Kosovo’s independence that its inhabitants used to have better living conditions when the province was an independent state; recognizing its independence would only mean a reversion to the state of peace. Because of this reason, more countries should back up efforts to recognize Kosovo as its own independent state.


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