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180- Application of the CERD (Armenia vs Azerbaijan)

On September 16th, 2021, Armenia filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) an application instituting proceedings against Azerbaijan for alleged violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the ”Convention” ”or“ CERD ”) in its articles 2 to 7 during the armed conflict that took place from September to November 2020.

Indeed, according to Armenia, Azerbaijan has been pursuing for several decades a discriminatory and heinous policy against the Armenian populations living on its territory, the 2020 war being only the latest incident. More specifically, it accuses the respondent State, inter alia, of:

  • Hate speech;
  • Committing ethnic cleansing;
  • Condoning and rewarding atrocities targeted against the Armenian people;
  • Perpetrating systemic discrimination and denying individual rights;
  • Destroying Armenia’s cultural heritage;
  • Failing to provide protection to Armenians.

Armenia therefore calls on the ICJ to declare that Azerbaijan is in violation of its international obligations under the CERD, to pronounce adequate reparations and to urge Azerbaijan to apologize for his discriminatory behaviour.

Armenia accompanied its initial application with a request for the indication of provisional measures that would force Azerbaijan to:

  • Release Armenian Armenian prisoners of war, hostages and other detainees;
  • Pending their release, treat these people according to the international obligations set forth in the CERD;
  • Refrain from espousing hate speech;
  • Preserve the Armenian heritage and culture;
  • Refrain from taking any action that would escalate the situation.

In its Order dated December 07th 2021, the Court noted that it has prima facie jurisdiction to take provisional measures with regard to Articles 36§1 and 41 of the Statute of the Court and Article 22 of the CERD. The conditions of urgency and risk of irreparable harm are also met. The ICJ therefore orders Azerbaijan to protect from bodily harm and abuse all those arrested in the 2020 dispute between the 2 countries who are still in detention and guarantee their safety. In addition, the respondent State must take all necessary measures to stop all hate speech and/or incitement to hatred and racial discrimination, including perpetrated by its public institutions, and, finally take all necessary measures to preserve cultural heritage. The ICJ also instructs both parties to take all necessary measures to avoid the deterioration of relations between the two countries that could impede the implementation of a future judgment.

Order of 07-12-2021

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.