14 Temp. Int'l & Comp. L.J. 101 (2000)
A Critical Thought on Self Determination for East Timor and Kosovo

handle is hein.journals/tclj14 and id is 107 raw text is: A CRITICAL THOUGHT ON SELF DETERMINATION
FOR EAST TIMOR AND KOSOVO
Henry J. Richardson
Let me make two points about self-determination and legal liability, and
then identify a dilemma relative to international legal issues raised by East
Timor.
I. Under international law, the right of self determination of peoples
has been adjudged a fundamental right, creating a duty on all states to up-
hold it in the international community.' As we know, the people of East
Timor have invoked this right and chosen independence from Indonesia, and
they have done so in the most authoritative way possible: by an internation-
ally recognized, United Nations-supervised, internationally-observed refer-
endum of its people, which is made even more legitimate by the hostile cir-
cumstances under which they voted.2 The question now is how quickly the
international community can muster sufficient support to the East Timorese
to protect them while achieving sovereign independence.
In Kosovo, the Kosovars have claimed their right to self- determination
through consistent polling information, through the military struggle of their
Kosovo Liberation Army, through the general unity of their ninety percent
Albanian population as against Serbian oppression, and through their fer-
vent desire for the departure of most, if not all, Serbians from their territory,
especially from any capacity to govern them. Their wishes in this regard are
a foregone international conclusion, especially after the successful NATO air
war against Serbia. However, the question now is how quickly can the inter-
national community, which undoubtedly favored the autonomy of Kosovo
and the freedom from Serbian criminality and oppression, come to the con-
 Peter J. Liacouras Professor of Law, The James E. Beasley School of Law of Temple
University. I appreciate the research assistance of Deborah Canty (J.D./M.B.A. Temple,
2000) and the secretarial assistance of Tracey Brown.
1. See IAN BROWNLIE, PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAw 595-98 (4th
ed., 1990).
2. See East Timor Vote on Autonomy is Set for Aug. 8, N.Y. TIMES, Apr. 28, 1999, at
A-12.
3. See Kosovo Rebels Press Other Albanian Separatists to Join Fight, N.Y. TIMES,
June 21, 1998, at 1-12; David Binder, Yugoslavia's Albanians Seek Foreign Affirmation,
N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 3, 1991, at 1-17; David Rohde, Crisis In Kosovo: The Rebels; Guerrilla
Pledge Not to Disarm Contradicts Goal of the Allies, N.Y. TIMES, May 7, 1999, at A-15.
4. The international community through both the United Nations and NATO favored

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