In what clearly represents surmounting a significant legal hurdle for the young state of Kosovo, the International Court of Justice has ruled that the ethnic-Albanian province’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law. Yet, the court’s ruling was characteristically equivocal insofar as it did not say that the new State of Kosovo in itself was legal. Nonetheless many international observers argue that the ruling gives a green light to separatism in a score of regions, some in Europe itself.
Mainland China rightly fears separatism — look only at Tibet and Sinkiang Province where ethnic repression by the Beijing rulers of both Buddhists and Muslims has led to deep resentments and growing separatist rumblings.
Let’s face it: Indonesia remains a mosaic of ethnic groups and nationalities who are not all on the same political page as the Jakarta government. The same goes for democratic India. And Sri Lanka recently ended a vicious separatist struggle. The point is that tiny Kosovo’s independence can be interpreted in many ways in far flung parts of the world.