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Armenia vs. Azerbaijan: Legal Battle Underway at International Court of Justice

Armenia vs. Azerbaijan: Legal Battle Underway at International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the United Nations is hosting verbal hearings in the ongoing lawsuit between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Representing Armenia, Yeghishe Kirakosyan, the country's representative on international legal affairs, is presenting the Armenian position during these proceedings, which are scheduled to continue until Friday.

The hearings began on Monday with objections raised by the Azerbaijani party. Azerbaijan contends that Armenia's lawsuit should be dismissed by the ICJ on the grounds that it falls outside the court's jurisdiction.

This legal dispute follows years of Armenophobia and threats that erupted into a 2020 war over Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in significant casualties and ethnic cleansing. 

Armenia's legal team argues that the ICJ does indeed have jurisdiction to hear the case, accusing Azerbaijan of breaching an international convention aimed at combating racial discrimination. They contend that Azerbaijan's actions constitute a "state-sponsored policy of Armenian hatred" leading to systemic discrimination, mass killings, torture, and other abuses.

Azerbaijan, however, maintains that Armenia cannot bring the dispute to court without first engaging in substantive negotiations to resolve their differences. Azerbaijan's lawyers also assert that most of the allegations raised by Armenia fall outside the scope of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.

Kirakosyan, leading Armenia's legal team, rebuffed Azerbaijan's objections, arguing that they lack merit. Alison Macdonald, another lawyer representing Armenia, emphasized that Armenia's claims of violence by Azerbaijanis constitute racial discrimination under the convention and must proceed to the merits phase.

While no date has been set for the ICJ to rule on jurisdiction, the case's progression could take several years if it proceeds. Additionally, Azerbaijan has filed a counter-case against Armenia, accusing it of breaching the same racial discrimination convention.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated further last year when Azerbaijan launched a military campaign in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in the forced displacement of thousands of ethnic Armenians. Despite a cease-fire agreement brokered by Russia, tensions persist as negotiations for a peace treaty continue.


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