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Politics and government of

Political status of Kosovo

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The Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo came into effect on 15 June 2008. Previously, Kosovo was governed under the terms of an interim Constitutional Framework — based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and ratified in 2001—which provided for the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, reserving final authority to a Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General.

The government of Serbia, which claims Kosovo, does not accept the new constitution. These disputes and questions of sovereignty arose at the end of the 20th century with the breakup of Yugoslavia, of which Serbia has been a part.


2008 Constitution

A draft of the new constitution was prepared and published by April 2008.[1] Many of its provisions derive from the Ahtisaari plan, thus granting specific right to minority groups and providing a safer environment for all citizens of Kosovo.

The Constitution of Kosovo was ratified on 9 April 2008 and came into effect on 15 June 2008.[2] The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo will not leave Kosovo for the time being, since the United Nations Security Council has not terminated the mission. Since the new constitution will not be enforced in Serb enclaves in Kosovo, its entering into force in the Albanian dominated parts amounts to a de facto partition of Kosovo.[3]

The foreword reads:

"We, the people of Kosovo, Determined to build a future of Kosovo as a free, democratic and peace-loving country that will be a homeland to all of its citizens; Committed to the creation of a state of free citizens that will guarantee the rights of every citizen, civil freedoms and equality of all citizens before the law; Committed to the state of Kosovo as a state of economic wellbeing and social prosperity; Convinced that the state of Kosovo will contribute to the stability of the region and entire Europe by creating relations of good neighborliness and cooperation with all neighboring countries; Convinced that the state of Kosovo will be a dignified member of the family of peace-loving states in the world; With the intention of having the state of Kosovo fully participating in the processes of Euro-Atlantic integration; In a solemn manner, we approve the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo."

It also stipulates that "The Republic of Kosovo shall have no territorial claims against, and shall seek no union with, any State or part of any State.", this being a clear message to any possible irredentist claims (union with Albania, or annexation of Albanian areas located within Serbia). It provides a secular state "neutral in matters of religious beliefs" (article 8). It has 14 chapters and 162 articles.


In 1913, Serbia acquired sovereignty over Kosovo according to the provisions of the London and Bucharest treaties. A separate Serbian-Turkish agreement was concluded on March 14, 1914. In 1918, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was formed and the region was part of the banovinas Morava, Zeta and Vardar.

In 1946, the autonomous "Kosovan-Metochian area" was formed within Serbia. The 1963 Yugoslav Constitution recognized "Kosovo and Metochia" as an autonomous province within the Socialist Republic of Serbia. In 1968, the province was renamed to "Kosovo".

The provincial Constitution of Kosovo (1974) was the first constitution of Kosovo. The 1974 Yugoslav federal constitution gave prerogatives of the republics to Kosovo and Vojvodina, although they remained constituent parts of Serbia according to the federal, republican and provincial constitutions. Following the change of Kosovo's legal status in 1974, the Serbian republic leadership sought to reintegrate Kosovo into Serbia by proposing several constitutional amendments, but was unable to obtain the required consent from all Yugoslav republics.[4]

In answer to continued Albanian demands for republic status during the 1980s, Serbia passed a new republic constitution in 1990, renaming the province back to "Kosovo and Metochia" and effectively reverting its legal status to that of the 1946 federal constitution. In response, the Kosovo provincial assembly issued a "Declaration of Independence" on July 2, 1990, seceding from Serbia (but not from Yugoslavia) under the claim that Albanians were a people (narod) within the "Yugoslav Federation-Confederation", entitled to self-determination. The assembly Declaration was deemed unconstitutional by the Yugoslav Constitutional Court in 1991, on the grounds that a change in the province's status would require changes to the Yugoslav and Serbian constitutions. Since the Declaration would influence the territorial extent and borders of Serbia, it required Serbia's consent according to the 1974 constitution. Furthermore, since Albanians were not a constituent nation of Yugoslavia within the 1974 Yugoslav constitution, but rather a national minority, the court found that they were not entitled to invoke self-determination in order to proclaim Kosovo a federal unit within Yugoslavia. Serbia reacted to the Declaration by dissolving the Kosovo assembly and government on July 5, 1990.

On July 5, 1990 the Republic of Kosova declared its secession from the Republic of Serbia and proclaimed the Constitution of Kosovo (1990).


  1. ^ "W&M professor advises Kosovo constitution drafters". Associated Press. 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-05-15.  
  2. ^ "Kosovo adopts a new constitution". BBC News. 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2008-05-16.  
  4. ^ Peter Radan (2002). "The secession of the Republic of Kosovo from Serbia". The Break-up of Yugoslavia and International Law. Routledge Studies in International Law. London/New York: Routledge. pp. 196–201. ISBN 0415253527.  

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