| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Armenia tells World Court Azerbaijan blockade is ‘ethnic cleansing’

On Monday, Armenia complained to justices at the World Court that neighboring Azerbaijan’s embargo of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory was intended to enable “ethnic cleansing,” a charge Baku denied.

The only way for Armenia to deliver food, fuel, and medical supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh, an area that is officially recognized as being a part of Azerbaijan but is actually home to some 120,000 ethnic Armenians, is through the Lachin corridor.

The corridor has been blocked since Dec. 12, when protesters claiming to be environmental activists stopped traffic by setting up tents. Azerbaijan denies any blockade, saying the activists are staging a legitimate protest against illegal mining activity.

Monday’s hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, was called to hear an Armenian request for the court to order Azerbaijan to lift the blockade.

Armenia’s representative, Yeghishe Kirakosyan, told the court the blockade had led to food rationing and dwindling medicine supplies in Nagorno-Karabakh, while Azerbaijan authorities said the ethnic Armenians were free to leave.

“Such blatant acts of ethnic cleansing have no place in the modern era and this court is the last hope for the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Kirakosyan said.

Constantinos Salonidis, a lawyer for Armenia, told the court: “Nothing short of a full lifting of the blockade and unhindered resumption of the provision of public utilities will bring relief to the victims of this cruel and unnecessary blockade.”

  • Reuters