Azerbaijan has denied the allegations made to the ICJ and accused Armenia of “decades-long ethnic cleansing”.
Armenia has told judges at the International Court of Justice in The Hague that Azerbaijan promotes ethnic hatred against Armenians and called on the court to stop what its lawyers call a cycle of violence and hatred.
Armenia’s claims, which Azerbaijan has denied, are part of a case it lodged with the highest United Nations court last month that Azerbaijan violated the International Convention on Human Rights. elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, to which both states are signatories.
Thursday’s hearing does not address the merits of the case but rather deals with Armenia’s request for emergency measures to end the alleged violations, while the court considers the request.
The two former Soviet republics, which fought for six weeks at the end of last year for the breakaway region of Azerbaijan from Nagorno-Karabakh, have filed separate cases with the ICJ.
After Armenia’s claim was made public, Azerbaijan filed a counterclaim accusing Armenia of violating the anti-discrimination treaty. Azerbaijan also requests that the court order protective measures while the case is pending.
Armenian lawyers accused the Azerbaijani authorities of promoting ethnic hatred and a culture in which the murder and torture of ethnic Armenians was “systematic”.
“With this request, Armenia seeks instead to prevent and remedy the cycle of violence and hatred perpetrated against ethnic Armenians,” said Yeghishe Kirakosyan, representative of Armenia.
“And in its request for interim measures, Armenia urgently seeks to protect the rights of ethnic Armenians from imminent irreparable harm. “
Kirakosyan said the six-week war that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev “openly admitted Azerbaijan began in September 2020 is the most recent link in this chain of ethnic violence and hatred.
“We fear it will not be the last until the roots of this conflict are addressed.
“Generations upon generations are indoctrinated in this culture of fear and hate for anything and everything Armenian,” Kirakosyan said.
Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Elnur Mammadov told the court on Thursday via video link that it was in fact Armenia that was involved in “decades-long ethnic cleansing”.
Lawyers for Azerbaijan dismissed Armenia’s complaint as “manifestly hopeless” and accused it of using the United Nations Court to score political points.
During the fighting late last year, Azeri troops drove Armenian forces out of strips of territory they had controlled since the 1990s in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, before Russia negotiated a settlement. cease-fire.
The conflict has left more than 6,500 dead.
The two sides have long exchanged accusations of rights violations, including during last year’s war.
The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the United Nations tribunal responsible for resolving disputes between countries.
The court has yet to determine whether it has jurisdiction in this case. It will be years before judges reach a final decision in the Armenia v Azerbaijan case, but they could rule on possible emergency measures in just a few weeks.