Statement on the Order of the International Court of Justice Demanding the Unblocking of the Lachin Corridor

24.02.2023

We welcome the Order by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) dated 22 February on the indication of a provisional measure to Azerbaijan, obliging the latter to “take all measures at its disposal to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions”. This court order is a logical continuation of previous provisional measures indicated by the ICJ on 7 December 2021, and obliging Azerbaijan to “prevent the incitement and promotion of racial hatred and discrimination, including by its officials and public institutions, targeted at persons of Armenian national or ethnic origin”.

We deem it important that when considering the case, the ICJ noted that the blockade may constitute a violation by Azerbaijan of the rights of the people of Artsakh protected under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The ICJ order allows to define the ongoing blockade of Artsakh as a manifestation of discriminatory actions deliberately carried out by the Azerbaijani authorities. Of particular importance is also the Court's conclusion that the ongoing blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan entails a real and imminent risk that irreparable harm will be caused to the rights of the people of Artsakh. Thus, while indicating a provisional measure to Azerbaijan, the International Court of Justice used the tools available within their competence to protect the people of Artsakh from racial discrimination by Azerbaijan.

The Court's decision is an objective confirmation of the repeatedly voiced position of Artsakh that the blockade is just another episode of Azerbaijan's decades-long discriminatory policies aimed at expelling the people of Artsakh from their historical homeland. The criminal policy of Azerbaijan, carried out against the people of Artsakh and bearing a large-scale and systematic character, is defined by international law as a crime against humanity. The international community in general and the UN member states in particular have legal and political obligations to take effective steps to prevent such massive human rights violations, as well as restore the violated rights.

In this context, we call on the international community to take effective measures to ensure the immediate and unconditional implementation by Azerbaijan of the order of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. At the same time, we deem it necessary to systematically and thoroughly consider at the international level the issue of the legal protection of the people of Artsakh from the Azerbaijani policy of massive violations of their rights. We are convinced that in their approaches to resolving the conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan, the international community, as an effective remedy, should acknowledge the legitimacy of the Artsakh people's choice for independence. Any discussion of the possibility of recognizing Azerbaijani jurisdiction and control over Artsakh and its people is tantamount to encouraging Azerbaijan's policy of ethnic cleansing.

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