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Yugoslav Territory, United Nations Trusteeship or Sovereign State? Reflections on the Current and Future Legal Status of Kosovo

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image of Nordic Journal of International Law

Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999 established a United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo. The United Nations has thereby assumed exclusive legislative and executive powers over the territory, notwithstanding the fact that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia still retained title over the territory in question. The present article analyses the current international legal status of Kosovo and the source of United Nations authority to administer the territory, taking into account relevant precedents where international organizations have done so in the past. In addition, the article addresses a number of more specific questions concerning the exercise of direct administering authority by the United Nations and, in particular, the question whether, and if so, to what extent human rights standards are applicable to both the actions of UNMIK and actions undertaken by the international security presence in Kosovo, KFOR. Before outlining a possible scenario for the future, permanent international and constitutional status of Kosovo, two other pertinent questions are also dealt with, i.e. whether UNMIK may represent Kosovo vis-à-vis third states by concluding treaties on behalf of the territory, and whether UNMIK may exercise diplomatic protection with regard to permanent residents of Kosovo.

Affiliations: 1: Walther Schücking Institute, Kiel, Germany; 2: Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany


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