Crimea "declares independence," references ICJ opinion

The assembly of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea on Tuesday adopted a declaration of independence.

Source: B92, Beta

The declaration references the case of Kosovo and the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2010.

The declaration said that members of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Crimea and the City Council of Sevastopol made the decision "based on the UN Charter and other international documents that recognize the right of peoples to self-determination and on the opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo that stated that unilateral declaration of independence of a part of a state does not violate international law. "

The proclamation also states that the Republic of Crimea is "a democratic, secular, and multi-ethnic state," and comes ahead of a referendum on Sunday on joining Russia as a federal subject. The new, pro-Western authorities in Kiev on Tuesday "suspended Crimea's decision to hold a referendum" and asked the local authorities to bring it in line with Ukrainian and Crimean constitutions.

The ICJ advisory opinion, referenced in today's declaration made in Crimea, concerned what the judges said was "a specific and narrow question" forwarded by the UN General Assembly, on whether the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration was in violation of international law.

The court found that this was not the case, "because international law does not prohibit such declarations."

The court also explained that it was not asked, and therefore did not declare itself on the legal consequences of that proclamation, and "in particular, whether Kosovo has achieved statehood."


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