On Nov. 17, the World Court in The Hague issued a statement that Azerbaijan must let the Armenian population return to the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh has been mostly controlled by the Armenian majority living there, which has been the cause of ethnic tensions for years.
Previously, in Sept. 2021
, the World Court had also ordered Azerbaijan to ensure the restoration of peace among the people within its territories regarding the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. However, at the beginning of 2023, tensions escalated and Baku held a nine-month blockade of essential supplies to the region, forcing over 120,000 of its inhabitants to migrate by Sept. 2023. Armenia accused Azerbaijan of ethnic cleansing and raised the issue to the International Court of Justice. Military action on Sept. 19
between the forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh only led to further risk for the civilians and expedited the migration.
The current statement of the Court orders Azerbaijan to facilitate the return of the displaced Nagorno-Karabakh inhabitants and ensure that there are no tactics of intimidation or racial discrimination that force a mass migration in the future. In its response to the ICJ, Azerbaijan claims
that they have been “committed to upholding the human rights of the Armenian residents of Karabakh on an equal basis with other citizens of Azerbaijan.”
As of now, no final ruling has been issued by the court and the main case is yet to be assigned a date. The issue remains ongoing, with no actions taken on either side since the statement from Nov. 17.
Yana Peeva is Senior Columns Editor. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.