World Court 'last hope' for Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia's agent tells public hearings
If the International Court of Justice (ICJ) does not take immediate measures, the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) will face an impossible choice – to leave their ancestral homes or to stay there and starve, Armenia's main legal representative to the court, Yeghishe Kirakosyan, said at the ICJ public hearings on Armenia’s request for provisional measures against Azerbaijan in the case Armenia v. Azerbaijan on Monday.
In his remarks, he noted that Armenia hoped that the requests in the application would have been long resolved through the intervention by the UNSC. “But Azerbaijan appears intent on strangling the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh no matter the human cost. One person has already died from lack of medical care and numerous others are at risk of a similar fate. Grocery store shelves are empty and food is being rationed. There are shortages of essential medicines and medical supplies, trade and businesses have completely stopped,” Kirakosyan said, adding that the gas supply to Artsakh has been repeatedly shut down, while schools and kindergartens remain closed.
“Despite the mounting cost of this humanitarian disaster of its own making, Azerbaijan has sought to justify and perpetuate its blockade on a basis of an environmental fiction that no one believes. It does so despite its unequivocal commitment under the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020 to guarantee safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin corridor. And it does so in the face of near unanimous international condemnation, including from the EU, the Council of Europe, the United States, France and numerous other states, as well as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and countless other independent organizations and observers,” he stated.
He reminded that over a month ago the European Court ordered Azerbaijan to take all necessary measures to ensure safe passage of seriously ill persons in need of medical treatment in Armenia and those stranded on the road. However, Azerbaijan ignored the demand, prompting the court to take the extraordinary step of notifying the Committee of Ministers of Azerbaijan’s non-compliance of the Council of Europe.
“If the court does not act quickly the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh will be faced with an impossible choice, to leave their ancestral homes or to stay there and starve. President Aliyev has made that plainly clear, he has explicitly demanded that ethnic Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh ‘leave’. He has stated that Azerbaijan’s ‘main duty was to expel Armenians from our lands’. He has stated that no songs will be sung in the alien language of Armenian and from now on the Azerbaijani language will dominate this land," the Armenian agent said, stressing the blockade, as well as the shutdowns of gas and electricity supplies are designed to make that happen.
Kirakosyan quoted the Azerbaijani president as sayintg, “If someone doesn’t want to be our citizen, the road is open, they can leave.”
“In other words, ethnic Armenians may not enter Nagorno Karabakh but they may leave. Judges of the court, such blatant acts of ethnic cleansing have no place in modern era and this court is the last hope for the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh,” he said.
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