From Province to Protectorate to State? Speculation on the Impact of Kosovo's Genesis upon the Doctrines of International Law

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The province of kosovo – 2 million people in 11,000 square kilometres of territory nestled between serbia to the north and albania and macedonia to the south – was thrust into the international limelight when serbian actions to repress kosovo albanian calls for independence made it a subject of international concern at the end of the 1990s. While kosovo is not unique in becoming well-known for suffering the repressive actions of a parent state, and while it has not even enjoyed the distinction of being the only territorial administration of its time, it appears to be unique in its (potential) impact on the doctrines of international law. On a number of levels, the international community's response to the situation created by milosevic's actions and nato's intervention threaten to call fundamental pillars of the post-world war ii order into question. It is too early to speculate conclusively on whether the nato action in kosovo sans security council approval in some measure paved the way for an emerging doctrine of “humanitarian intervention” that, in turn, opened the door to the illegal invasion of iraq. It seems not implausible to suggest that the apparent success of unauthorised military intervention in kosovo in stopping mass human rights violations emboldened politicians on both sides of the atlantic in opting for a moral path over the formally legal one. In any event, grounded as they are in that history, the final status talks on the future of kosovo represent a serious challenge to the current framing of the international order. It is these issues that this symposium wished to raise and examine.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerman Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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