Digene: World Court says Azerbaijan must let ethnic Armenians return to Nagorno-Karabakh newsbhunt

THE HAGUE: Judges at the World Court on Friday ordered Azerbaijan to let ethnic Armenians who fled Nagorno-Karabakh in September return and to keep the remaining Armenians in the enclave safe as part of a set of emergency measures.
The ruling comes after Azerbaijan in September retook the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh in a lightning offensive, after decades of enmity between Baku and Yerevan.The military action prompted the mass exodus of most of its 120,000 ethnic Armenians to neighbouring Armenia.
Yerevan accused Azerbaijan of ethnic cleansing and asked the International Court of Justice, as the World Court is formally known, to issue emergency measures aimed at protecting the rights of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Azerbaijan must (…) ensure that persons who have left Nagorno-Karabakh after 19 September, 2023 and who wish to return to Nagorno-Karabakh are able to do so in a safe, unimpeded and expeditious manner”, presiding judge Joan Donoghue said.
The court said Azerbaijan must also make sure any ethnic Armenians still living in the enclave are “free from the use of force or intimidation that may cause them to flee” and ordered that Baku report to the court in two months to show what it is doing to comply with the order.
Representatives of Azerbaijan had already told the court in hearings in October that they would allow the return of residents who fled Nagorno-Karabakh and keep all inhabitants of the enclave safe.
The measures are part of two competing legal disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan before the ICJ. Both states accuse each of violating a UN anti-discrimination treaty.
No date has been set for the main case and a final ruling is not expected before well into next year.

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