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Macedonia wins

I listened with great excitement this morning as the Japanese President of the International Court of Justice announced the ICJ's ruling on Macedonia's complaint that Greece had broken their 1995 agreement by vetoing Macedonia's application to NATO in 2008.

It was a masterly takedown, as he ran over the points raised by the Greek side and demolished every single one. Bascially, Greece had undertaken in 1995 not to block Macedonia from joining international organisations under the name of FYROM, and had broken that undertaking in 2008, and no amount of obfuscation could really get over that fact.

The Greeks are claiming partial victory in that the Macedonian request to the court that it prohibit Greece from doing the same thing again was rejected. But the Court's actual verdict offers them little comfort; it is clear that the ICJ expects Greece to do the right thing and allow Macedonia to join NATO (and, by implication, start EU membership negotiations):
...the Court does not consider it necessary to order the Respondent, as the Applicant requests, to refrain from any future conduct that violates its obligation under Article 11, paragraph 1, of the Interim Accord. As the Court previously explained, “[a]s a general rule, there is no reason to suppose that a State whose act or conduct has been declared wrongful by the Court will repeat that act or conduct in the future, since its good faith must be presumed”[.]
The Greek government at present is not in a strong position to do anything, but this is a very strong judgement, and one hopes that it will create space for some sober reflection in Athens. (Alas, NATO is not making optimistic noises.)

(See also the comments of Judge Sinna, who criticises his colleagues for not being harsh enough on the Greeks and uses such words as "synallagmatic", "Berührungsangst" and "haptophobia".)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 5th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
A good verdict and the correct one. When will the Greeks EVER grow up? Shakes head despondently.
Dec. 5th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
I may be over-simplifying but, to me, the Court's ruling sounds like 'we are not telling you to avoid doing this because - as this ruling proves - this is illegal, therefore you wouldn't do it, right?'

I'm not sure how else you could take that?
Dec. 5th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think that is exactly right.
Jan. 7th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
The Greeks maybe getting their knickers in a twist but lets be honest its a bit odd for a country to call themselves after a Greek province (the historical Macedon is mainly around the Thessaloniki area) Why can they not recognise that their country is mix of Slavs and Albanians with a large Roma population too and celebrate that rather than trying to claim Alexander the Great amongst others for themselves. If Northern Ireland became a new state maybe it should call itself Lanarkshire or Merseyside. I honestly think the Greeks though need to relax and recognise that the FYROM Macedonia claim as being quite flattering its not as if FYROM are actually in a position to launch a war to try and 'reclaim' all the land to the sea to create some super Macedonia state infact if anything their own country maybe at a greater risk of a kososvo like republic being declared by the Albanians!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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