Armenia and Azerbaijan Clash at the Top UN Court - Latest Global News

Armenia and Azerbaijan Clash at the Top UN Court

Azerbaijan and Armenia will fight out a long-running “ethnic cleansing” dispute at the United Nations’ top court from Monday as military tensions rise between the historic enemies.

Robed lawyers from both countries begin two weeks of hearings, wrestling over the interpretation of international law in the International Court of Justice’s gilded Peace Palace.

Meanwhile, the two traded accusations earlier this month of opening fire along their volatile shared border, dampening hopes for a lasting peace deal after decades of sporadic fighting.

The legal battle at the International Court of Justice began in September 2021, with both sides filing settlement lawsuits against each other within a week.

Both sides accused the other of “ethnic cleansing” and violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

The International Court of Justice, which has jurisdiction over disputes between states, issued emergency orders in December 2021 calling on both parties to prevent incitement and promotion of racial hatred.

But although the ICJ’s orders are binding, it has no enforcement mechanism, and tensions rose, culminating in Azerbaijan’s lightning offensive in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh last September.

Baku recaptured Karabakh in the one-day offensive, prompting the enclave’s entire ethnic Armenian population – more than 100,000 people – to flee to Armenia.

Just a few weeks later, Armenia again turned to the International Court of Justice, asking the court to order Azerbaijan to withdraw its troops from Karabakh and allow Armenian refugees to return home safely.

In November, the court ordered Azerbaijan to allow anyone wishing to return to Karabakh to return in a “safe, unhindered and expeditious manner.”

The latest negotiations in the Marathon dispute begin on Monday and last until April 26th.

These are objections from both parties to the original lawsuits filed by the other party in September 2021.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said a comprehensive peace deal was within reach following last year’s offensive in Karabakh.

The former Soviet republics have fought two wars for control of the mountainous region – most recently in 2020 and in the 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union – that claimed thousands of lives on both sides and led to hundreds of thousands fleeing.

The conflict has also strained relations between Russia and former Soviet Armenia, as Yerevan believes Moscow did not do enough to help when the country was attacked.

In February, Armenia officially joined the International Criminal Court (ICC), despite Moscow’s warnings against it.

Due to an arrest warrant issued by the ICC against the Russian leader in March 2023, it is now obliged to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he enters Armenian territory.

ric/jhe/bc

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