When a person desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize [their] dream.
– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (London: Thorsons, 1995)
The International Court of Justice in The Hague has declared, in a landmark ruling, that Kosovo’s February 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia did not violate international law. On the contrary, ICJ President Hisashi Owada notes, in his address on the majority verdict (10 jurists to 4), that international law contained “no applicable prohibition” of Kosovo's declaration of independence. The ICJ therefore rejected Serbia’s claims, which it had earlier brought to the court for consideration, that its “territorial integrity was violated” by the Kosova independence proclamation.
These are extraordinary times indeed… It mustn’t be forgotten that it has been under the seemingly protective umbrella of this “[state’s] territorial integrity was violated”-dubious legal mantra that many a regime across the world, particularly in Africa, have since the 1960s waged genocidal and other military campaigns against constituent nations and peoples within the population who seek their own independence and state. The most notorious of this occurrence is of course the 1966-1970 Igbo genocide. 3.1 million Igbo people were murdered during the timeframe of 42 months. For the Harold Wilson British government, which was centrally involved in the planning and the execution of the genocide and which often prided itself at the time as a more credible spokesperson of the campaign than envoys of the genocidist junta in Lagos, this mantra was the linchpin of its publicity and lobbying efforts across varying sociopolitical forums and circles during those 42 catastrophic months to “rationalise” its sordid role.
Forty years on, both the ICJ and the International Criminal Court, also in The Hague, have made it impossible for anyone, anywhere, to invoke some statute of international law as a “rationalisation” to embark on the murder of any people or peoples within its frontiers on the bogus basis of operating for or on behalf of this existing state’s territorial status. No heads of regime or indeed any other regime operatives enjoy immunity, as a result of their office, for murdering people or peoples in their population and there is no statute of limitations for the crime of genocide or/and war crimes. Forty four years after the beginning of the Igbo genocide, today’s ICJ ruling is a giant step forward in bringing the goals of the restoration of the sovereignty of Biafra very much closer. As the saying goes, the ball is now clearly in the Igbo court.