Brazil to take part in ICJ hearings

BELGRADE -- Brazilian Ambassador Dante Coelho de Lima says that Brazil will take part in the hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Kosovo case.

"I've just informed the Serbian government that Brazil will take part in the next stage of the proceedings, in the verbal debate at the ICJ," he told Tanjug.

The debate is due to begin on December 1, and all interested states have until September 15 to apply to take part, he said.

According to the ambassador, Brazil, which has not recognized Kosovo, earlier submitted its written opinion to the court outlining its position that a solution for Kosovo’s status should be sought exclusively through instruments offered by the UN in compliance with international law.

“Our fundamental position is that we respect Serbia’s territorial integrity. We supported Security Council resolution 1244, under which Kosovo is a part of Serbia. We also think that the principle of self-determination should not run counter to respect for international law,“ said Coelho de Lima.

In its submission, Brazil had stated, he explained, that Kosovo’s unilateral independence declaration was in breach of all the relevant provisions of international law, particularly those concerning the principle of sovereign countries’ territorial integrity.

“We also stated that the principle of self-determination must not run counter to the principle of territorial integrity and that it must be consonant with the relevant Security Council decisions. In that respect, we’ve reiterated that resolution 1244 affirms Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo and calls for substantial autonomy for the province within Serbia,“ the ambassador explained.

The process of assessing the legality of the Kosovo Albanian unilateral declaration of secession was launched by the highest UN court at the order of the UN General Assembly and at Serbia's initiative last fall.

A resolution adopted by the General Assembly ordered the ICJ to provide an advisory opinion on whether the unilateral proclamation in February 2008 was in line with international law.