'Kosovo did not violate intl. law'
President of the court Judge Owada (c), Vice-President of the Court Judge Peter Tomka (L) and Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (R) are issuing an advisory opinion on Kosovo's independence from Serbia. AP
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), UN's highest court, has ruled that the Kosovo independence from Serbia did not violate international law.
"The declaration of February 17, 2008 did not violate general international law," AFP quoted ICJ president Hisashi Owada as saying onThursday.
The ICJ nonbinding, advisory ruling further said that international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence," the Associated Press reports.
Analysts believe that the ruling can have significant implications for other separatist regions around the globe.
Belgrade warned that conclusions should be drawn only after a "careful analysis" of the court's text.
Serbia had said earlier that it would not retreat from its stance on Kosovo, cautioning that if the ICJ supported Kosovo, all the world's borders would be at risk.
"Serbia will not change its position regarding Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence and necessity of a compromise," Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said earlier.
"Our fight for such a solution will probably be long and difficult, but we will not give up," he added.
Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia sparked a serious worldwide debate following a 1998-99 war and nearly a decade of international administration.
Following a request by Serbia, the UN General assembly asked the ICJ in October 2008 to rule whether the breakaway breached international law.
Sixty nine countries, including the United States and most European Union nations, recognized Kosovo's statehood, while Serbia and Russia and some other countries condemned it.