On January 31, 2023, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held public hearings on Azerbaijan’s request for the indication of additional provisional measures submitted in the case concerning the Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (Azerbaijan v. Armenia).
Report informs, citing the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan, that this hearing has followed Azerbaijan’s second request for provisional measures submitted on January 4, 2023, asking the Court to take “urgent action needed to stem the mounting casualties” due to the continued deliberate planting of landmines and explosive booby traps in Azerbaijani civilian areas by Armenia’s forces. Since the end of the 2020 conflict, 282 Azerbaijanis have become victims of mines or other explosive devices, the vast majority of which were civilians, including 3 journalists.
Azerbaijan’s request has reflected new evidence demonstrating that Armenia, contradicting representations it made to the ICJ in October 2021, continued to lay landmines on Azerbaijan’s territory, even after agreeing under the November 2020 Trilateral Statement to the cessation of all hostilities. Since August 2022, over 2,700 landmines manufactured in Armenia in 2021 have been discovered in Azerbaijan. Armenia’s conduct stands as an egregious violation of Armenia’s obligations under CERD and other international law.
Over 1,600 of these illegal landmines, as well as booby traps, have been planted in civilian areas from which Azerbaijanis were expelled 30 years ago as a result of Armenia’s ethnic cleansing campaign and illegal occupation of Azerbaijan’s territory, preventing these displaced families and communities from returning to their homes.
Azerbaijan has requested the ICJ to indicate the provisional measures that Armenia shall immediately take all necessary steps to enable Azerbaijan to undertake the prompt, safe and effective demining of the towns, villages, and other areas to which Azerbaijani civilians will return in the Lachin and Kalbajar districts, and other formerly occupied districts of Azerbaijan, including by providing information about the location, quantity, type and characteristics of landmines, booby traps and any other explosive devices in these areas, in order to enable Azerbaijani internally displaced persons to return to their homes.
Azerbaijan has also asked the Court to indicate that Armenia shall immediately cease and desist from any further efforts to plant or to sponsor or support the planting of landmines and booby traps in these areas to which Azerbaijani civilians will return in Azerbaijan’s territory, including, but not limited to, the use of the Lachin road for this purpose.
Previously, on 7 December 2021, the Court granted Azerbaijan’s first request for provisional measures to protect against Armenia’s ongoing violations of CERD, ordering Armenia to take all necessary measures to prevent the incitement and promotion of racial hatred targeted at Azerbaijanis.
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