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Secession, Self-determination of 'Peoples' and Recognition - the Case of Kosovo's Declaration of Independence and International Law

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Chapter Summary

In 17 February 2008 the Parliament of Kosovo issued a statement declaring "Kosovo to be an independent and sovereign State". At the same time the government of Kosovo submitted letters to 192 countries seeking formal recognition. The US, Britain, France and Germany responded immediately in favour of the announcement. The recognition of Kosovo by some of the West's major powers appears to be increasing the hopes of secessionist movements across the world, at least judging by their websites. The main question to be considered in this chapter is whether or not recognition of Kosovo will inspire secessionist movements throughout the world. Is it a unique case per se, hardly ever to be repeated? To arrive at an adequate assessment, the chapter examines the concepts of secession, self-determination, ?peoples' and recognition in order to understand whether or not this declaration of independence impedes or develops international law.

Keywords: independence; international law; Kosovo; peoples; recognition; secession; self-determination



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