"Armenia failed to prove Baku's involvement in the protest on the Lachin road."
Armenia-Azerbaijan in the Hague
The International Court of Justice weighed the respective claims of Azerbaijan and Armenia against each other. The heavy language of jurisprudence and the lack of intelligible comments in the first hours after the announcement of the court’s verdict led to disagreements both in Baku and Yerevan. According to Armenian sources, the court ordered Azerbaijan to stop the protest on the Lachin road. In Baku, they think quite the opposite.
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For comments on the decisions of the International Court of Justice, JAMnews turned to an Azerbaijani lawyer living in France, Sayad Yusifli.
On the court’s decision of Azerbaijan v. Armenia
“Proceeding of counterclaims of Azerbaijan and Armenia against each other in the International Court of Justice continues. The day before yesterday, the court announced verdicts demanding the implementation of interim measures against both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan, in its lawsuit, stated that there is new evidence that in 2021 and after, Armenia, violating its submissions to the International Court of Justice in 2021, deliberately mined the territories to which Azeris were expected to return.
The applicant’s side noted that until August 2022 more than 2,700 mines produced in Armenia in 2021 were found, and more than half of these mines were found in the territories to which the refugees were supposed to return.
At the same time, Azerbaijan added in its statement information about the detection of booby traps that were discovered in October 2022 and deployed by the Armenian armed forces, or these forces actively participated in their deployment. Azerbaijan noted that so far Armenia refuses to communicate information it has on the territories where mines and booby traps are located. Azerbaijan asked the court to make a decision on the provision by Armenia of information on the territories where mines and other explosive installations are located, the number, type and characteristics, as well as to oblige Armenia to stop the installation of new mines and explosive installations in these territories, including the Lachin corridor, and refrain from supporting such actions.
Armenia, in response, stated that it was carrying out mining operations on the sovereign territory of Armenia in order to protect itself. Armenia added that according to the trilateral agreement, in November-December 2020, the Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions were returned to Azerbaijan and since then these territories have been under the control of Azerbaijan. According to Armenia, even if mines were found in those territories, this can be explained by the fact that at the end of the conflict there was still a line of contact inside Nagorno-Karabakh, and in the tripartite statement there are no demands that the strengthening of their positions by the armed forces is unacceptable.
Regarding explosive installations, Armenia stated that these installations were found in settlements located on the “old Lachin corridor” and these territories are under the control of Russian peacekeepers. The Armenian side added that the Armenian armed forces could not enter these territories without being detected by Russian peacekeepers and there is not a single fact pointing to the opposite. Armenia also added that the mines may have been placed by those who were forced to leave their homes.
The court repeated its position, voiced in the decision of December 7, 2021 (Azerbaijan made similar demands at that time) and did not satisfy Azerbaijan’s demands due to lack of evidence.
Armenia’s appeal to the court states that on December 12, Azerbaijan organized a blockade of the only road connecting 120,000 ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh with the outside world. Armenia asked the court to decide on the unhindered movement of people, vehicles and goods along the Lachin road, as well as an end to the protests blocking movement in both directions.
Armenia claims that the blockade continued by Azerbaijan is part of the policy of ethnic cleansing, and the purpose of this blockade is to bring the living conditions of ethnic Armenians to the impossible, thereby ensuring that they leave these territories.
Armenia added that the blockade was organized by a group of people who call themselves eco-activists, many of whom are known for “hate speech against Armenia on social networks” and “have direct ties to the government of Azerbaijan,” and are even supported by the government.
In response, Azerbaijan stated that the Lachin corridor is under the control of Russian peacekeeping forces. It added that since the beginning of the protests, over 1,000 vehicles have passed through the Lachin corridor and no cases of use of force between Azerbaijani protesters, corridor users and Russian peacekeepers have been recorded. Azerbaijan claims that there is no evidence in favor of protesters blocking the access of medical care from Armenia, as well as the transportation of food, medicines and other necessary goods to Nagorno-Karabakh.
The court demanded that Azerbaijan ensure the uninterrupted operation of the Lachin corridor until a final decision is made. At the same time, the court rejected Armenia’s demand to stop the protest.
Thus, the court demanded Azerbaijan ensure traffic along the Lachin corridor, but did not put forward any demands to stop the protest.”