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Armenia Urges World Court to Pursue Ethnic Cleansing Case Against Azerbaijan


Armenia Urges World Court to Pursue Ethnic Cleansing Case Against Azerbaijan
Photo Credit: David Ghahramanyan

Armenia has called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hold Azerbaijan accountable for what it claims is the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh. This appeal came during the second day of hearings at the UN's highest court.


Yeghishe Kirakosyan, Armenia's representative, asserted that Azerbaijan has completed the ethnic cleansing of the region and is now systematically erasing all traces of ethnic Armenians' presence. He highlighted the devastating impact of Azerbaijan's actions, stating that the recent armed aggressions resulted in the ethnic cleansing of all of Nagorno Karabakh.


Armenia Urges World Court to Pursue Ethnic Cleansing Case Against Azerbaijan

The case presented to the ICJ stems from decades of aggression from Azerbaijan, primarily over the ethnic Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan's armed forces occupied the mountainous area in September 2023, prompting the majority of ethnic Armenians to leave and go to Armenia.


Armenia's accusations against Azerbaijan include glorifying racism against Armenians, permitting hate speech, and destroying Armenian cultural sites, all of which allegedly violate a UN anti-discrimination treaty. However, Azerbaijan denies these allegations.


Armenia Urges World Court to Pursue Ethnic Cleansing Case Against Azerbaijan

During Monday's proceedings, Azerbaijan argued that most of Armenia's complaints related to the armed conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh and therefore fell outside the scope of the UN treaty. Additionally, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of not genuinely engaging in negotiations before bringing the case to the ICJ, a claim rejected by Kirakosyan.


In November, the ICJ issued emergency measures in the case, ordering Azerbaijan to allow ethnic Armenians who forcefully fled Nagorno-Karabakh to return. Azerbaijan maintains that it has pledged to ensure the safety and security of all residents, regardless of national or ethnic origin, and denies forcibly displacing ethnic Armenians from Artsakh.


Armenia Urges World Court to Pursue Ethnic Cleansing Case Against Azerbaijan

The current hearings focus solely on the legal objections to the jurisdiction of the ICJ and will not address the merits of the discrimination claims. A final ruling in both cases could be years away, and the ICJ lacks enforcement mechanisms for its rulings.

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