9 Oct 2008

UN seeks World Court view on Kosovo

6:31 am on 9 October 2008

The UN General Assembly has voted to refer a declaration of independence by Kosovo to the International Court of Justice.

The Court will be asked to give an advisory, non-binding opinion on the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in February.

Seventy-seven countries voted in favour, six against and 74 abstained.

Serbia and Russia say Kosovo acted illegally. But nearly 50 countries - including the United States and most of the EU - have recognised it as independent.

Serbia argued that asking the International Court of Justice to give its opinion would actually reduce tensions and promote reconciliation.

Many countries who voted in favour said this was not a political decision but a legal one, and every state had a right to ask the court for an opinion.