Azerbaijan doesn't violate international law in Karabakh

Ramil Gachay's picture

Starting from April 1 2016, the long-time armistice between Azerbaijan and Armenia is over. Armenians news sites expose the pictures of killed Armenian civilians. Azerbaijani side feels regret about civil losses but has to express that civilian casualties occurred in compliance with international law, specifically with international humanitarian law.

Regarding that there is a military conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the issue is regulated with several international documents – Hague Conventions of 1899 (art.24(g), 25, 26 etc), Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (art.23,26,36) and 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (art.49).

1. Article 49 of Geneva Convention says that, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. Azerbaijan runs military operations on the lands out of Autonomous Region of Nagorny-Karabakh which were occupied by Armenian forces. There are several proofs of occupation but the strongest one is a Judgment of ECtHR “Chiragov v.Armenia”. That lands are supposed to be free of civilian population because all Azeris who lived there forcibly expelled by the Armenian military and no armenians lived there before.


2. The duration of armistice between Azerbaijan and Armenia was over in 2014 and according article 36 of 1907 Hague Convention, the current armistice was the one without any duration. According the article 36 of the Convention, “...he belligerent parties may resume operations at any time, provided always that the enemy is warned within the time agreed upon ...”. Azerbaijan repeatedly warned Armenian side that if occupying armies will not leave Azerbaijani districts out of NK, Azerbaijan keeps it sovereign right to self-defense as it is enshrined in Article 51 of UN Charter.


3. Armenian civilians shouldn’t have been settled in Azerbaijani villages and occupying Armenian power shouldn’t have let them do it, regarding that no truce was concluded between parties. The Conventions prohibit the intentional shelling of civilians which constitutes war crime. Azerbaijani side doesn’t have any intensive to vast its munition against civilians in the environment where it could be used against military facilities. At the same time Azerbaijan is aware about it international responsibilities under ECHR and wouldn’t breach ‘international obligations.


4. Both Hague Conventions in articles 23, 24 etc provide that use of force during offensive or other military operations is legitimate if it necessary under eminent threat (Caroline rule) and destruction or killing be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war. The use of weapons against civilians, hospitals, schools, other installations of religion, art and culture are forbidden, until they are not used with military objectives. In the case if these objects (including the civilian houses) are located next to military installations like barracks, headquarters, offices and so on, unintentional destruction and civilian casualties which are necessary and proportionate wont be considered as a infringement of international law.


5. According articles 51 of UN Charter, 4 Resolutions of UN SC about occupation of Azeri lands, Resolution 3314 of UN GA of 1974 “On Definition of Aggression” and Resolution 2085 of Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE of 26.01.2016, the fact of aggression of Azerbaijani land without any doubts and regarding that UN SC didnt take any action to maintain international peace and security, Azerbaijan has an inherent right to self-defense and its military actions performed with a full compliance to 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions, 1949 Geneva Conventions and UN Charter.

Farhad Mehdiyev
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