The status of Kosovo – reflections on the legitimacy of secession

Ethics and Global Politics 3 (2):123-142 (2010)
Abstract
On 17 February 2008, the province of Kosovo formally declared its independence from Serbia. The most important normative theories of secession*choice theories and just cause theories* appear to justify the creation of a second Albanian state on the Balkans. Kosovo’s independence reflects the will of the vast majority of its inhabitants and can be seen as a remedy for grave human rights violations in the era of Slobodan Milos?evic´. Two problems, however, need to be thoroughly discussed. Firstly, the secession of Kosovo may establish a precedent for other separatist conflicts and contribute to the destabilization of south-east Europe and other world regions. Secondly, the new political authorities in Pristina may not be capable to protect the Serb minority against discrimination and repression. It is argued that both problems give no conclusive reasons to reject Kosovo’s claim for independence. However, some aspects of the secession, for instance the maintenance of the provincial borders, are considered to be illegitimate. Keywords: drawing of borders; independence; majority decision; minority protection; primary right theories; remedial right theories; self-determination; sovereignty; territorial integrity Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2010, pp. 123-142. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v3i2.1983
Keywords remedial right theory  majority decision  self-determination  primary right theory  sovereignty  drawing of borders  territorial integrity  independence  minority protection
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DOI 10.3402/egp.v3i2.1983
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