Expatica news

Azerbaijan complains to UN court over Armenia landmines

Azerbaijan asked the UN’s top court Tuesday to order rival Armenia to stop laying landmines, in a fresh legal battle over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The complaint by Baku comes a day after Yerevan complained to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague about alleged “ethnic cleansing” by Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister Elnur Mammadov told judges that Armenia had planted 2,700 mines since a peace deal to end a war over the region in 2020.

Mammadov urged the ICJ to “stop the continued murder and maiming of Azerbaijanis on the basis of their ethnic and national origin by explosive devices recently planted by the republic of Armenia.”

Armenia had also planted “booby traps built with tripwires to kill any Azerbaijanis returning home” after being displaced, Mammadov said.

For its part, Armenia asked the ICJ on Monday to order Azerbaijan to end a blockade of Karabakh which it said was depriving residents of food and medicines.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

Another war between the Caucasus archfoes in 2020 killed more than 6,500 and ended with a Russian-brokered truce that saw Armenia cede territories it had controlled for decades.

But unrest has continued.

Both countries want the court to take emergency measures as it deals with wider, tit-for-tat cases alleging breaches of an international anti-discrimination convention.

Judges are expected to decide within months on the measures, but an overall judgment will take years.

The court — which was set up after World War II to rule on disputes between UN member states — in December 2021 ordered both Armenia and Azerbaijan to avoid aggravating their feud.