The International Court of Justice has declared that Kosovo's declaration of independence does not violate general international law.
The ruling, announced in The Hague last Thursday, came after the United Nations sought clarification on the status of Kosovo after the former Serbian province declared independence in 2008.
The International Court voted 10 to four in a ruling that found international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence".
It is now expected that Kosovo will seek formal recognition in the United Nations.
Kosovo's population stands at just over 2 million people, with a little under 90 per cent of its population consisting of ethnic Albanians, and seven per cent of Serbian descent.
It is estimated that around one million Kosovars, mainly of ethnic Albanian descent, were displaced during the Kosovo War as the old Yugoslavia fragmented in the 1990's. Australia accepted 4000 Kosovo refugees in 1999.
Australia, the USA and Italy are three of the 69 countries that have formally recognised Kosovo's independence since it was first declared in 2008.
Serbia has responded to the ICJ ruling by declaring that it will never accept Kosovo's independence.
Like this story? Read more: