By Mike Corder | Assistant Printing Press
The Hague, Netherlands – Armenia has been embroiled in a decades-long territorial dispute with neighboring Azerbaijan – which again turned into armed conflict last year – at the United Nations Supreme Court.
Armenia has filed a lawsuit against Azerbaijan for violating an international conference aimed at eliminating racial discrimination, the court announced late Thursday night.
Armenia accuses Armenians of being victims of systematic discrimination, genocide, torture and other abuses, calling it a “state-sponsored policy of Armenian hatred.”
The case center in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian government for more than a quarter of a century.
In the Soviet era, the predominantly Armenian-populated region of Azerbaijan had an autonomous status. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, long-standing tensions spread between Christian Armenians and most Muslim Azeris. The conflict began in 1988 when the region attempted to join Armenia and escalated into war after the fall of the USSR in 1991, killing an estimated 30,000 people and displacing nearly 1 million.
The fighting, which resumed a year ago, killed hundreds of people, the largest since 1994.
Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of “grave violations of the Treaty of Racial Discrimination” during last year’s war.
The Armenian lawsuit states that even after the Russian-brokered ceasefire took effect on November 10, “Azerbaijan is still involved in the war, killing of prisoners and other detainees, torture and other abuse of Armenian prisoners.” The court
Azerbaijan is expected to file a similar lawsuit against Armenia in the World Court next week.
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Elnur Mamadov said in a tweet that “in the coming days we will hold #Armenia in violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.” “30 years of human rights violations against Azerbaijanis during the occupation will not be tolerated.”
Leila Abdullayeva, head of the press department at Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry, complained on Friday that since the ceasefire, Armenia has prevented Azerbaijanis from returning to their homes by arbitrarily excavating previously occupied territories and refusing to provide mine maps to Azerbaijan.
In his case, Armenia urges the court to immediately order the so-called “temporary measures” to “protect the country and the Armenians from further harm and to prevent the escalation or expansion of this dispute” when the court handles the case.
The World Court, formally known as the International Court of Justice, deals with disputes within nations. Cases often take years to resolve.
Associated Press writer Aida Sultanova contributes to Baku, Azerbaijan.