Clarification on the widespread comment regarding the decision of the International Court of Justice about the Convention of 1965 on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
Recently, information according to which "The Hague court has recognized Armenia as the owner of Artsakh monuments" has been widely circulated on Armenian and international media platforms. However, this is not true.
In fact, on December 7, 2021, the International Court of Justice in The Hague (Netherlands) upheld its decision on the basis of a lawsuit filed by Armenia against Azerbaijan for violating the 1965 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which included a request for provisional measures. The decision of the court, consisting of three points, was issued by 15 judges (14 votes in favor and 1 against). None of the points mention the comment circulating in the press:
- To take all necessary measures to prevent the incitement and promotion of racial hatred and discrimination, including by Azerbaijani officials and public institutions, targeted at persons of Armenian national or ethnic origin (https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/180/180-20211207-PRE-01-00-EN.pdf);
- To take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration affecting Armenian cultural heritage, including but not limited to churches and other places of worship, monuments, landmarks, cemeteries and artefacts (https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/180/180-20211207-PRE-01-00-EN.pdf);
- To protect from violence and bodily harm all persons captured in relation to the 2020 Conflict who remain in detention, and ensure their security and equality before the law;
Moreover, despite the fact that Article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination provides the “right to enter and use the inherited territory” and which should not be based on racial discrimination, nevertheless, there was no court order allowing Armenians to make pilgrimages, and to have the right to access the territories of cultural heritage (https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/01/13/armenia-azerbaijan-nagorno-karabakh-cultural-desecration-is-racial-discrimination ).
According to the court, the need to apply provisional measures is connected with the fact that the dispute has escalated due to the fear of causing irreversible damage to the Armenian cultural heritage. The importance of the judgment is expressed mainly in the following:
- The decision of December 7 is the first and most effective international instrument calling on Azerbaijan to prevent any damage to the Armenian cultural heritage that came under its control as a result of the war.
- The intentional destruction of cultural heritage has been linked to racial discrimination and thus to increased international opportunities to protect endangered heritage;
- It is a message to nation-states (Azerbaijan) that sovereignty does not give government privileges to destroy cultural heritage, thereby creating a new way to deal with such vicious behavior.
Lear more about the decision of the Hague Court here.
Group of the academic platform https://monumentwatch.org/