Azerbaijan asks World Court to move forward with Armenia discrimination case

By Thomson Reuters Apr 23, 2024 | 4:47 AM

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Azerbaijan asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday to move forward with a case accusing Armenia of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing, one of two competing cases launched by the foes over their decades of ethnic conflict.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have each sought rulings at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, against the other over the fallout of conflicts dating to the breakup of the Soviet Union, mainly over Nagorno-Karabakh, a part of Azerbaijan once home to many Armenians.

Ethnic Armenians won a war in the 1990s that saw hundreds of thousands of Azeris flee homes in and around Karabakh. The situation has largely reversed since 2020, with Azerbaijan recapturing control of Karabakh in military victories and thousands of Armenians fleeing.

On Monday Armenia asked the ICJ to throw out the case brought Azerbaijan on technical grounds, following a request a week earlier by Azerbaijan to dismiss the case brought by Armenia. Final rulings in either case could be years away, and the court has no way to enforce its rulings.

Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Elnur Mammadov on Tuesday told judges Armenia’s objections to the court’s jurisdiction should be dismissed.

Armenia first filed its case at the ICJ in 2021, accusing Azerbaijan of glorifying racism against Armenians, allowing hate speech against them and destroying Armenian cultural sites, in violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Azerbaijan brought its own case against Yerevan a week later, alleging that Armenia had carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing from the early 1990s until 2020.

Both sides deny the other’s accusations.

Hearings for now cover only legal objections to the jurisdiction of the ICJ and will not go into the merits of the discrimination claims.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Peter Graff)