If the International Court of Justice (ICJ) doesn’t take immediate actions, the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh will face an impossible choice – to leave their ancestral lands or to stay and starve, the representative of Armenia Yeghishe Kirakosyan said at the International Court of Justice public hearing on Armenia’s request for provisional measures against Azerbaijan in the case of Armenia v. Azerbaijan (Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Armenia v. Azerbaijan) – Request for the indication of provisional measures).
The registrar presented the provisional measures which Armenia is asking the ICJ to indicate.
Armenia requests the following: Azerbaijan shall cease its orchestration and support of the alleged protests blocking uninterrupted free movement along the Lachin corridor in both directions, Azerbaijan shall ensure uninterrupted free movement of all persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin corridor in both directions, and Azerbaijan shall immediately and fully restore and refrain from disrupting or impeding the provision of natural gas and other public utilities to Nagorno Karabakh.
Armenia’s agent Yeghishe Kirakosyan noted in his remarks that Armenia hoped that the requests in the application would’ve 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 gas has been repeatedly shut down and 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,” Kirakosyan said, noting that Azerbaijan does so despite its unequivocal commitment under the 9 November 2020 statement to guarantee free movement of persons, vehicles and goods along the Lachin corridor.
Kirakosyan noted that Azerbaijan’s actions have received near-unanimous international condemnation.
Moreover, Azerbaijan also ignored the ECHR’s order to take necessary measures to ensure safe passage of ill persons in need of treatment in Armenia. The court went on to notify the Azerbaijani non-compliance to the committee of ministers in a rare move.
“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.’’ Kirakosyan said the blockade, the shutdowns of gas and electricity supplies are designed to achieve these goals of Azerbaijan.
Kirakosyan quoted the Azerbaijani President’s speech, where he said “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,” Kirakosyan said.