If the UN Court does not act quickly, Armenians in Artsakh will face an impossible choice – Yeghishe Kirakosyan

If the Court does not act quickly, the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh will be faced with an impossible choice, Armenia’s representative on International Legal Matter Yeghishe Kirakosyan said during the international Court of Justice hearing on the Lachin corridor.

“Azerbaijan appears intent on strangling the ethnic Armenians of Ngorno Karabakh, no matter the human cost,” Kirakosyan said, noting that one person has already died from lack of medical care and numerous others are at risk of a similar fate.

“Grossery store shelves are empty, and food is being rationed. There are shortages in medicine and medical supplies. Trade and businesses have completely stopped. Gas has been repeatedly shut off entirely, and demand on electrical grid has led to recurring and prolonged blackouts. The schools and kindergartens remain completely shut down, children have been separated from their families for 50 days now,” he said.

“Despite the mounting cost of this humanitarian disaster, Azerbaijan has sought to justify and perpetuate its blockade on the basis of an environmental fiction that no one believes,” Armenia’s representative added.

“It does so despite its unequivocal commitment under the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020 to guarantee safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin corridor. And it does so in the face of near unanimous international condemnation, including from the EU, the Council of Europe, the United States, France and numerous other states, as well as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and countless other independent organizations and observers,” Kirakosyan stated.

He reminded that over a month ago the European Court of Human Rights ordered Azerbaijan to take all necessary measures to ensure safe passage of seriously ill persons in need of medical treatment in Armenia and those stranded on the road.

Yeghishe Kirakosyan said Azerbaijan ignored the demand, prompting the Court to take the extraordinary step of notifying the Committee of Ministers of Azerbaijan’s non-compliance.

Noting that the International Court of Justice is the last resort, Armenia’s representative stressed that “if the Court does not act quickly, the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh will be faced with an impossible choice to leave their ancestral homes or to stay there and starve.

“President Aliyev has made it clear. He has demanded that ethnic Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh “leave.” He has stated that Azerbaijan’s “main duty was to expel the Armenians from our lands.” He has stated that “no songs will be sung in the alien language of Armenian, and that from now on it will be the Azerbaijani language that will dominate in this land.” The blockade and the gas and electricity shutdowns and disruptions are specifically designed to make that happen. In president Aliyev’s words just days ago “of someone does not want to become our citizen, then the road is not closed. They can go or they can leave, no one will stop them.” In other words, ethnic Armenians may not enter Nagorno Karabakh, but they may leave,” Kirakosyan stated.

He stressed that “such blatant acts of ethnic cleansing have no place in modern era, and this Court is the last hope for the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh,” he concluded.

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