Hrnjaz: Serbia didn’t recognize Kosovo with the new agreement, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been moving towards it politically for 10 years

Foto: FPN

„Serbia has not de facto recognized Kosovo. Neither through Brussels, nor Washington, nor this agreement,“ Milos Hrnjaz, associate professor of international law at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, said yesterday.

This Saturday, a confirmation arrived from Brussels that a deal has been reached by which Serbia has agreed to abolish entrance/ exit documents for citizens with Kosovo ID cards, with Kosovo agreeing not to introduce them for Serbian ID holders.

While the government in Serbia has been presenting the agreement as „very beneficial for Serbia“, the opposition criticizes it, underscoring that it is another step towards the recognition of Kosovo.

According to Milos Hrnjaz, associate professor of international law at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, Serbia has not de facto recognized Kosovo with this agreement or previous ones.

„Maybe it will recognize it, maybe it won’t, maybe it’ll be important, maybe it won’t be, but so far it hasn’t – whatever you may think about this or that policy of the government towards the Kosovo issue,“ he said.

In several Twitter posts, Hrnjaz also explained the difference between de facto and de jure recognition.

„De facto recognition is recognition and it doesn’t happen by chance, incidentally. The main difference compared to de jure recognition is that de facto recognition is revocable, while de jure is irrevocable. De facto recognition is usually given in crisis situations and with unclear future consequences – the entity that gives the recognition wants to keep the possibility to withdraw the recognition if the circumstances were to change radically,“ this professor stated.

Hrnjaz added that de facto recognition does not have to be explicitly expressed with words such as – „we recognize statehood“.

„But what people often confuse is implicit (indirect) and de facto recognition. Implicit recognition means that the state has recognized an entity and that this can be safely concluded from its actions, even though it has not been recognized by a formal act. However, in a situation like this where Serbia explicitly and persistently claims that it has not recognized Kosovo, it is extremely difficult to claim that it has done so implicitly. One example could be the conclusion of diplomatic relations,“ he explained.

In his words, although Serbia has „still“ not recognized Kosovo, it does not mean that „it hasn’t been moving in that direction for more than 10 years now.”

„Toward this or toward ensuring that its confession does not become completely irrelevant,“ Hrnjaz concluded.

Earlier this year, Hrnjaz spoke about the decision of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo during a guest appearance on the Pravi Ugao show, saying that the claims that the court explicitly said that Kosovo has the right to independence or that it has already become independent are false.

At the same time, he said that the declaration of independence „does not make a state“, but also that, in the case of Kosovo, its declaration of independence was followed by gradual legalization and takeover of competencies that normally belong to a sovereign state – among other things, also within the framework of the Brussels Agreement.

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