Armenia has placed mines in its sovereign territory for defensive purposes. Armenia's representative on international legal matters countered Azerbaijan's claims, recalling that earlier the European Court of Human Rights had rejected Azerbaijan's application to apply an interim measure against Armenia regarding the alleged placement of mines by Armenia.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan (Representative of Armenia on International Legal Matters) - Armenia has placed mines in its sovereign territory purely for defensive purposes. Armenia did this in view of the repeated acts of aggression by Azerbaijan, including the recent one in September 2022. Azerbaijan's appetite for concessions demanded from Armenians is increasing day by day. And the latter used every opportunity to seize new Armenian lands by force.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan stated that Azerbaijan continues to hold Armenian prisoners of war and civilians, target civilians, encroach on lands inhabited by Armenians, and carry out ethnic cleansing of these lands. It is a state, which, according to the representative of Armenia, is trying to justify the ongoing steps of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh by accusing the peacekeepers of merely doing their job.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan - Armenia does not place mines outside its sovereign territory, especially in civilian areas, and does not try to target Azerbaijani citizens on the basis of race, it is unimaginable, there have been no such attempts. Azerbaijan has talked about these accusations many times, they have been denied many times. The reality is that Azerbaijan collected mines from the sovereign territory of Armenia, which was occupied by the Azerbaijani armed forces in 2021-22, so Azerbaijan seeks to create a false evidence base with the mines it collected after its illegal acts of aggression to justify its intervention. This petition is not only a display of cynicism, it is also baseless. I hope the court will not allow Azerbaijan to abuse the proceedings by trying to take advantage of the consequences of its own illegal actions.
Sean Murphy, a legal adviser to Armenia, cited statements by Armenia's defense and foreign ministers, long before the lawsuit was filed, that the mines claimed by Azerbaijan were discovered in 2021, seized by Azerbaijan on sovereign Armenian territory, for later use for propaganda purposes.
Sean Murphy (International Law Expert, Legal Adviser) - In the photos presented by Azerbaijan, the mines are seen close-up and neatly arranged. There are only three photos showing how they are allegedly clearing a minefield, and the location is not indicated. Moreover, there is no statement from the combat engineers as to how the mines were moved without exploding, or where the alleged engineer found and moved them from. It is also not explained for what purpose this was done.
Azerbaijan's request to the UN International Court of Justice is another obvious attempt to divert attention from its crimes. We have seen this mirroring tactic in other court proceedings, the representative of Armenia countered the Azerbaijani side.
According to Kirakosyan, Azerbaijan's intervention on the application of interim measures does not have any semantic difference from the previous one, which was rejected by The Hague Court about a year ago. Azerbaijan presented this new petition just six days after Armenia's application, despite the fact that the alleged evidence was already in the possession of that country for months, stated the representative of Armenia on International Matters.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan - After Armenia sent a notification of the dispute to Azerbaijan still demanding negotiations within the framework of the convention, Armenia sent a notification also demanding negotiations. Armenia sent its application and the first request for an interim measure in September 2021, and Azerbaijan also submitted an application for an interim measure. When Armenia raised concerns that Azerbaijan was not complying with the court's orders on the application of the interim measure, Azerbaijan sent its own implicit concerns. The same trend can be seen today in the European Court of Human Rights. Today, when Armenia submitted an application for interim measures regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis, Azerbaijan is again trying to create a false impression of equivalence.
After listening to both sides regarding Azerbaijan’s claim, the Chair of the Court announced that the verdict will be made as soon as possible.