Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Armenia, Azerbaijan to Clash at UN Top Court

Mon 15 Apr 2024 | 09:33 PM
Israa Farhan

Azerbaijan accused Armenia on Monday of filing a complaint with the International Court of Justice over the Nagorno-Karabakh region to launch a "media campaign" against Baku, as the confrontation between the two nations unfolds in the highest UN judicial body.

The neighboring and warring countries in the Caucasus region have begun two weeks of hearings before the court, headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, amid mutual accusations of committing "ethnic cleansing" in the disputed region for decades, as military tensions escalate, dimming hopes for sustainable peace.

Azerbaijan's representative, Mohammadov, told the court judges, "From the outset, Armenia's aim in initiating this action before the court and using it for a media campaign against Azerbaijan is clear." He deemed Armenia's protest "premature," attributing it to "Armenia's failure to engage in negotiations with Azerbaijan to resolve this dispute."

While acknowledging "limited negotiations," Yerevan "failed to pursue them," he added. The countries exchanged accusations early in April with gunfire in border areas, further dampening prospects for a peace agreement after decades of conflict.

The legal battle between the two countries before the International Court of Justice began in September 2021 when both Azerbaijan and Armenia filed complaints against each other within a deadline of no more than a week.

Each party accused the other of committing "ethnic cleansing" and violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The International Court of Justice, tasked with resolving disputes between states, issued urgent orders in December 2021, calling on both parties to refrain from incitement and promoting racial hatred.

While decisions by the International Court of Justice are legally binding, the judicial body lacks mechanisms for enforcement.

Tensions between the two countries escalated until they peaked in September 2023 when Azerbaijan launched a surprise military operation, seizing control of Nagorno-Karabakh.

During the one-day military operation, Azerbaijan seized the region, prompting the vast majority of its Armenian population, around 100,000 out of a total population of 120,000, to flee to Armenia.

In early March, the two sides agreed to continue peace talks after Berlin hosted a meeting of the foreign ministers of both countries to resolve the conflict.