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Kosovo Precedent - Applicable in Many Parts of the World, But not Directly in the South Caucasus

Author(s): Dominik Tolksdorf

Journal: Caucasian Review of International Affairs
ISSN 1865-6773

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 103;
Date: 2009;
Original page

When it recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in August 2008, Russia implicitly referred to the independence of the Republic of Kosovo, which was recognized by most of the EU member states and by a total of 54 states of the 192 UN member states by January 2009. But is it really feasible to compare the two cases with each other? What arguments has “the West” used in order to justify the recognition of Kosovo? What legal arguments are there to justify the Russian position? This paper will take a closer look at the argumentation on both sides of the debate before it will analyse the reasons for the fact that a large number of states have so far rejected the idea of acknowledging Kosovo, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The paper will conclude that for specific reasons, it is difficult to argue that the recognition of Kosovo’s independence set a clear precedent for the two breakaway provinces of Georgia. However, Kosovo might have set a precedent for more reasonable cases, which explains much better why the process of Kosovo’s recognition has come to a standstill. This is no good news for the government in Prishtina, which needs further recognition in order to become a member of various international organisations.
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