Friday, 22 September 2023

W Weekly Update

1-8 April

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Weekly update


8 April
The US intelligence community has definitively identified Azerbaijan as the primary threat to peace in the South Caucasus, in an intelligence report required by Congress through the legislative leadership of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the civic society support of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). According to “Our US intelligence community confirms what we know to be true, that Azerbaijan’s the aggressor,” stated ANCA executive director Aram Hamparian. “This definitive finding by the Director of National Intelligence takes a wrecking ball to a longstanding State Department’s false-parity narrative that – against all evidence – emboldens Aliyev’s aggression by answering each new Azerbaijani attack with generic calls, anemic pleas, on all parties to refrain from violence. This intentionally weak policy of artificial evenhandedness –nothing more than outright hostility disguised as neutrality – emboldens Aliyev’s aggression and sets back the cause of a durable and democratic peace.”


7 April
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was visiting Ankara on Friday, said Moscow continues to support normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey as official Ankara continued to sidestep the issue of the Armenian Genocide repeating its insistence for a historical overview. In line with Lavrov’s comments came a day after Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told the Aydinlik newspaper that his president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared “that Ankara is open to the work of objective committees that historians shall form,” referencing the Armenian Genocide. Speaking at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Friday Lavrov said the the process to normalize relations between Turkey and Armenia started with Russia’s support. Armenia said that efforts were underway to open the Margara checkpoint at the Turkey-Armenia border. The head of Armenia State Revenue Committee, Rustam Badasyan said the the justice ministry, in cooperation with other state bodies, were working to ensure that customs procedures were in place and are properly implemented at that border crossing.


6 April
The unresolved conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the continued threat of renewed large-scale war have shifted the focus from domestic to externally conditioned human rights issues in the South Caucasus. Observance and reporting on human rights issues domestically are subordinate to the human rights issues conditioned by the ongoing conflict situation. According to as a result, the local population experiences layered violations of human rights and is disenfranchised both domestically and internationally. The Second Karabakh War of 2020 not only shifted the geopolitical balance in the South Caucasus but also created a need to review the implications of human rights protection in the aftermath of significant military confrontation. This is especially true in light of the lack of conflict resolution and the non-recognition of one of the parties involved in the conflict (state of Nagorno-Karabakh). This article presents the current discourse around human rights issues in the de facto states of the South Caucasus and analyzes the human rights situation in Nagorno-Karabakh after the war.


5 April
Azerbaijani government-backed protesters blocking Nagorno-Karabakh’s land link with the outside world have not allowed Russian peacekeepers to escort 27 Karabakh civilians stranded in Armenia back to Stepanakert. According to a convoy of cars carrying them reportedly had to return to the Armenian town of Goris on Tuesday night after spending five hours at the blocked section of the sole road connecting Karabakh to Armenia. Karabakh’s human rights ombudsman and eyewitnesses said some Azerbaijanis broke into one of those vehicles and intimidated their mostly female passengers. Three Karabakh Armenian women felt and unwell and passed out as a result, according to them. Karine Aghajanian, another passenger, confirmed reports that an Azerbaijani ambulance transported them to a hospital in Stepanakert. “The Russians wanted to transport them in their vehicles but the Azerbaijanis didn’t allowed them to do that … That is why we agreed to let them do that,” Aghajanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Wednesday.


4 April
Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian on Tuesday condemned parliament speaker Alen Simonian in unusually strong terms for allegedly spitting at an opposition heckler and said he must be ousted, reported A Canadian-Armenian member of the opposition Dashnaktsutyun party claimed that Simonian ordered his bodyguards to overpower him and then spat in his face after he branded the latter a “traitor” on a street in downtown Yerevan on Sunday. Simonian did not deny spitting at the activist, Garen Megerdichian. He said he was gravely insulted and responded accordingly. Leaders of Armenia’s main opposition groups condemned Simonian’s actions as a “hooligan” act that warrants criminal proceedings. Ter-Petrosian added his voice to the condemnation in an article posted on He blasted “the notorious Alen Simonian’s unforgivable deed” as a “national disgrace.” “As for the word traitor, it is not a domestic curse or a personal insult but a purely political assessment which should be countered by a correct and reasonable response, rather than vulgar speech or saliva … There has never been a leader of a more or less democratic state in the world who was not branded a traitor by his political opponents,” he wrote.


3 April
“I wrote an article in January 2016, titled: “Turkey was first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide in 1918.” According to however, most people are still unaware that ‘the Armenian Massacres’ were discussed and acknowledged by the Ottoman Parliament and Senate in 1918. More recently, two Armenian members of the Turkish Parliament, Selina Dogan and Garo Paylan, raised the issue of the Armenian Genocide in the Parliament on January 14, 2016. Earlier, in November 2014, Parliament member Sebahat Tuncel submitted a resolution on the Armenian Genocide to the Turkish Parliament, asking Erdogan to issue an apology, declare April 24 as an official Day of Mourning, make public the documents in the Turkish archives about this mass crime, and pay material and moral restitution to the descendants of the victims. The proposed resolution was ignored by the Turkish Parliament. Since writing my 2016 article, I came across a detailed analysis written by Prof. Ayhan Aktar in the History Workshop Journal, titled: “Debating the Armenian Massacres in the Last Ottoman Parliament, November – December 1918.” That debate took place following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI and occupation of Constantinople (Istanbul) by the victorious allied countries.”


2 April
On March 30, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Artsakh reported that the Azerbaijani armed forces overnight blocked the Goris-Stepanakert highway between the villages of Aghavno and Tegh.
In line with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Artsakh informed that the new Tegh-Kornidzor dirt road in the Syunik Province, bypassing the closed road, is passable and ready for operation and given the ongoing blockade of Artsakh, it is possible to carry out humanitarian supplies to Artsakh through Russian peacekeepers and the International Committee of the Red Cross. According to Civil Contract Deputy David Danielyan, tensions have escalated in Tegh village of the Syunik province, as the Azerbaijani armed forces have reportedly advanced 100 meters into the area. The latest statement from the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry indirectly confirms the report and the situation in the region remains tense. “In regard with the commissioning of the new Lachin road, several high grounds between Jaghazur and Zabukh villages of Lachin region, main and auxiliary roads, as well as large areas along the border were taken under the control of the Azerbaijan Army Units,’’ the statement said.


1 April
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) recently ordered Azerbaijan to allow unrestricted movement of people, vehicles, and goods through the Lachin Corridor. According to however, one month has passed since the ruling, and Azerbaijan has not complied with this legal obligation. Consequently, the population of Nagorno-Karabakh remains under blockade. Despite accusations that the road is blocked, officials in Baku have denied this and cited that vehicles from the Red Cross and Russian peacekeepers are permitted to pass through and that the eco-activists protesting illegal mining have a right to do so. Hetq talked with Gabriel Armas-Cardona, who is a human rights lawyer from the United States. He has worked at the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office of the Republic of Armenia and for various Armenian NGOs as an independent consultant. He has been closely following the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. Does Azerbaijan’s non-compliance undermine ICJ and its relevance as an institution of international legal order? I have noticed that the general public in Armenia is inclined to think the ICJ’s ruling was senseless since Azerbaijan simply ignored it.

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