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181- Application of the CERD (Azerbaijan vs Armenia)

On September 23rd, 2021, Azerbaijan filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) an application instituting proceedings against Armenia 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 Azerbaijan, Armenia has been pursuing for several decades a discriminatory and heinous policy against the Azerbaijani populations living on its territory, the 2020 war being only the latest incident. More specifically, it accuses the respondent State, inter alia, of:

  • Carry out concerted actions of “ethnic cleansing” of the Azerbaijani populations;
  • Destruction of Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage;
  • Engaging in war crimes;
  • Encourage hate speech at the institutional level;
  • Plunder natural resources and degrade the environment of the “Occupied Territories” by Armenia.

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

Azerbaijan accompanied its initial application with a request of provisional measures forcing Armenia to:

  • Take all measures to enable the return of the displaced Azerbaijani populations and, more specifically, to provide all the information necessary for the demining of the “Occupied Territories”;
  • Refrain from endangering human lives by continuing to undermine the territory of the occupied areas;
  • Prohibit hate and discriminatory speech against the people of Azerbaijan;
  • Do not take any action that could 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 Armenia to take all necessary measures to stop all hate speech and/or incitement to hatred and racial discrimination, including perpetrated by its public institutions. The Court 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.