In an op-ed published by The Australian, human rights barrister of the London-based Doughty Street Chambers, Mr. Geoffrey Robertson calls out the regime of Azerbaijani’s authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev for his claim that the Armenian side instigated what is fast becoming a humanitarian disaster, with Baku using cluster munitions against the civilians in Artsakh’s capital Stepanakert.
“He [Aliyev] denies being the aggressor, but this is not credible: he has everything to gain by it and Armenia has everything to lose, and no reason to commence battle. It has agreed to international calls for peace talks but Aliyev, bent on killing and conquest, has refused,” Robertson wrote.
The high-profile former judge also poured cold water over Turkey’s denial that it is directly involved in Azerbaijan’s aggression, highlighting evidence that Ankara-backed Islamist Jihadist mercenaries have been deployed to bolster Aliyev’s expansionist ambitions.
“Despite its denials, evidence from France and Russia and the British media proves that in the last month Turkish companies have recruited and paid fighters from Syria to join the Azeri forces – proof that Turkey and Azerbaijan planned their attack in advance,” Robertson added.
Robertson continued by demanding action from the United Nations Security Council.
“The Security Council should immediately refer the conflict to the International Criminal Court, which is now empowered to investigate the crime of aggression, which appears to have been committed by Aliyev with the support of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” he said.
Robertson said: “Aliyev claims the unrecognised Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan but this rests on Stalin’s 1923 decision to make the region an oblast. This status it has not had for the last quarter of a century after its people voted for independence and won the war they fought for their right to self-determination.”
He added: “International law allows what is termed the right of remedial secession, which has been accorded to East Timor, Kosovo and others and which should apply to Artsakh.”
Robertson continued by calling on Australian to support the rights to self-determination of the indigenous Armenians of the Republic of Artsakh.
“It would be intolerable if Artsakh were to be invaded and its people killed or forced to flee. Yet this is the declared objective of Turkey,” Robertson said.
“But the Armenians are a tough race, emerging from the genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turks (who slaughtered more than a million of them in 1915-16). They have a diaspora that is powerful in the US and elsewhere (although the best-known Armenian is Kim Kardashian, Australia can boast Joe Hockey and Gladys Berejiklian).”
“They will not surrender Artsakh and nor should they. Australia should not hesitate in its support for them – not for the sake of Christianity but for democracy,” Robertson concluded.