The Government of Azerbaijan filed its main claim against Armenia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) today, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
According to the ministry, the claim filed in the Court is based on thousands of pages of evidence documenting almost thirty years of injustice. It provides detailed information of the Azerbaijanis killed, displaced, and harmed in one of the most horrific campaigns of cleansing by Armenia based on ethnic and national origin.
The ministry said that Armenia’s invasion and illegal occupation of territories internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan was accompanied by a conscious and deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing. This practice, which continued until 2020, aimed to create an ethnically pure Armenian settlement on Azerbaijan’s territory through destruction, looting and exploitation of Azerbaijani districts.
"After liberating its territories in 2020, Azerbaijan has undertaken an enormous evidence collection in the liberated territories. The scale of Armenia’s destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives, countless families and communities, irreplaceable cultural heritage and the environment is truly shocking," said the statement.
The ministry also noted that Armenia’s ethnic discrimination policy and practice, as well as illegal occupation for almost thirty years, prevented all Azerbaijani citizens to return to their homes in Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
"To this day, hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani IDPs still cannot return to their former homes. Entire towns, such as Fuzuli, Aghdam, Jabrayil, Gubadlı, Zangilan, Kalbajar were destroyed as part of Armenia’s occupation and “scorched earth” policy when it retreated from the then-occupied territories following the war in 2020," said the ministry.
According to the Foreign Ministry, a total of 95 percent of all buildings located in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region were razed to the ground since the beginning of Armenia’s occupation.
"This discriminatory policy also includes Armenia’s reprehensible targeting of civilian homes and settlements with explosives and landmines. 282 Azerbaijanis have either died or been severely injured in mine explosions since the end of the 44-day Patriotic War. Landmines are critical elements and painful legacy of Armenia’s campaign to prevent the return of displaced Azerbaijanis," said the ministry.
The ministry noted that on the basis of the extensive evidence submitted, Azerbaijan has requested that the Court declare Armenia as responsible for wholesale violations of human rights of Azerbaijanis. In particular, Azerbaijan has requested the Court to find the Government of Armenia responsible for ethnic cleansing, including through unlawful killing, torture, destruction and dispossession; cultural erasure; the promotion of hatred against Azerbaijanis; failure to promote tolerance of Azerbaijanis among the Armenian population; and state sponsorship of armed hate groups in Armenia.
Azerbaijan has also requested that the Court urge Armenia to uphold its obligations to disclose all information about the missing Azerbaijanis, restore to Azerbaijanis all property and land illegally taken, cease its promotion of hatred and state support for armed hate groups, and ultimately apologize and take responsibility for thirty years of human rights abuses.
"The Azerbaijani side will continue all necessary measures to bring the perpetrators of the mentioned crimes to international legal responsibility," the ministry said.