Cyprus Mail

Armenia asks World Court to order Azerbaijan to withdraw troops from Nagorno-Karabakh

refugees from nagorno karabakh region arrive at an armenian checkpoint in kornidzor
Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh region drive cars past a checkpoint in the village of Kornidzor, Armenia on Sunday

Armenia has asked the World Court to order Azerbaijan to withdraw all its troops from civilian establishments in Nagorno-Karabakh and provide the United Nations access, the court said on Friday.

The World Court, formally known as the International Court of Justice, in February ordered Azerbaijan to ensure free movement through the Lachin corridor to and from the disputed region, in what then was an intermediate step in legal disputes with neighbouring Armenia.

More than three quarters of the 120,000-strong population of the ethnic Armenian breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh had fled by Friday afternoon after defeat by Azerbaijan last week.

In a request for provisional measures submitted on Thursday, Armenia asked the court to reaffirm the orders it gave Azerbaijan in February and to order it to refrain from all actions directly or indirectly aimed at displacing the remaining ethnic Armenians from the region.

Some international experts have said the exodus of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh meets the conditions for the war crime of “deportation or forcible transfer”, or even a crime against humanity.

The United States and others have called on Baku to allow international monitors into Karabakh, amid concerns about possible human rights abuses. Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of ethnic cleansing in Karabakh, something Baku strongly denies.

Azerbaijan has invited a United Nations mission to visit Nagorno-Karabakh “in the coming days”, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

The World Court in The Hague is the UN court for resolving disputes between countries. Its rulings are binding, but it has no direct means of enforcing them.

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