Kosovo's Independence: The Politics, Legality, and Philosophy of Secession

March 21, 2008Duke Law News

Monday, March 24, 2008
12:15 – 1:15 PM • Room 3037 • Lunch served
Prof. Tibor Várady and Prof. Allen Buchanan


On February 17, 2008 the parliament of Kosovo unilaterally declared the province to be fully autonomous and independent from Serbia (background and a first legal analysis can be found here). Since then, a number of states in the region have argued that the secession violates international law and that any state recognizing such secession is also in violation of international law. On the other hand, the U.S. and many member states of the European Union have supported the declaration of independence. The Center for International & Comparative Law is pleased to welcome two leading scholars who will present their views on the Kosovar assertion of independence from their particular perspectives.

Tibor Várady, Professor of Law at Emory University since 1999, served on the faculty of the Novi Sad Law School in the former Yugoslavia and as director of its Center for International Studies for many years. He was Minister of Justice of Yugoslavia (in the government of Mr. Panic) from June 1992 to March 1993. Since July 1993 he has been professor at the Legal Studies Department of the Central European University in Budapest, and Chairman of the International Business Law Program. He is an internationally recognized scholar and expert on international trade, commercial transactions, and dispute settlement.

Allen Buchanan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Policy Studies at Duke University, has written extensively on the topic of state secession and the intersection of ethics, politics, and international law, including a 2003 book titled Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law. In 1996 Professor Buchanan has served as consultant to the European High Commissioner on National Minorities in the Hague on alternative modes of self-determination, short of full independence, for national minorities. He was commissioned by the Office of the Privy Council of the Canadian government to write a commentary on the Canadian Supreme Court Reference Ruling on the Possible Secession of Quebec, in 1997.

Lunch will be served.