The 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence was adopted on 17 February 2008 by representatives of the Kosovo people. The participants unanimously declared Kosovo to be independent from Serbia, while all 11 representatives of the Serb minority boycotted the proceedings and it was the second declaration of independence by Kosovos Albanian-majority political institutions, the first was proclaimed on 7 September 1990. The legality of the declaration has been disputed, Serbia sought international validation and support for its stance that the declaration was illegal, and in October 2008 requested an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice. The Court determined that the declaration did not violate international law, the dialogue resulted in the 2013 Brussels deal between Serbia and Kosovo which abolished all of the Republic of Serbias institutions in Kosovo. Dejan Pavićević is the representative of Serbia to Kosovo. Valdet Sadiku is the representative of Kosovo to Serbia. The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija took shape in 1946 within Socialist Yugoslavia as a province within Serbias federal republic, initially a ceremonial entity, more power was devolved to Kosovan authorities with each constitution. In 1974 it became the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo which enabled the region to function at every administrative level independently of its host republic within Yugoslavia, the move attracted criticism from the leaderships of the other Yugoslav republics but no higher authority was in place to reverse the measure. In response to the action, the Kosovo Assembly voted on 2 July 1990 to declare Kosovo an independent state, a state of emergency and harsh security rules were subsequently imposed against Kosovos Albanians following mass protests. The Albanians established a state to provide education and social services while boycotting or being excluded from Yugoslav institutions. Kosovo remained largely quiet through the Yugoslav wars, the severity of the Yugoslav government in Kosovo was internationally criticised. In 1996, the Kosovo Liberation Army began attacking federal security forces, the conflict escalated until Kosovo was on the verge of all-out war by the end of 1998. Subsequent peace talks failed and from 24 March to 11 June 1999, the war ended with Milošević agreeing to allow peacekeepers into Kosovo and withdrawing all security forces so as to transfer governance to the United Nations. A NATO-led Kosovo Force entered the following the Kosovo War. Before and during the handover of power, an estimated 100,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians, mostly Romani, in the case of the non-Albanians, the Romani in particular were regarded by many Albanians as having assisted federal forces during the war. Many left along with the security forces, expressing fears that they would be targeted by returning Albanian refugees. Thousands more were out by intimidation, attacks and a wave of crime after the war. Large numbers of refugees from Kosovo still live in temporary camps, some sources put the figure far lower
Map of the Republic of Kosovo
Kosovo from 1946 to 1992 (Source: CIA)
A "Young Europeans" billboard in Pristina
Kosovo passport stamps cancelled by Serbian passport control police to demonstrate its non-recognition of Kosovo's secession.