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31.07.2009 Europe

UN World Court sets date for public hearings on Kosovo independence

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29 July - The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations' principal judicial organ, announced today that it will hold public hearings starting on 1 December on the question of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence early last year.

The UN and individual Member States will be able present oral statements and comments at the ICJ's headquarters in The Hague, as will the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) of Kosovo, which authored the declaration of independence from Serbia.

In October 2008 the General Assembly voted to request the ICJ to give an advisory opinion on the legality of the move by Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and other minorities by about nine to one.

Some 36 Member States and the PISG have already filed written statements on the question, and they have until 15 September to indicate to the ICJ whether they wish to participate in the public hearings.

The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is tasked with settling legal disputes between UN Member States and with giving advisory opinions on legal questions.

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