Red Flag Alert for Genocide - Azerbaijan - Update 7
The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention expresses deep concern regarding the state of Azerbaijan’s most recent attack on the Armenian border village of Tegh. Such smaller-scale violations of Armenia’s sovereignty have been a signal of larger-scale attacks against Armenia in the past. Azerbaijan seems to be convinced of its impunity with regards to Armenian territory and Armenian people, as it has faced no serious consequences from the international community for its flagrant and genocidal violations of international law since 2016. We call for the international community to take immediate steps to end Azerbaijan’s impunity and set the South Caucasus region on a real road to peace, one that recognizes the rights of Armenians to exist in security and without repeated genocidal threats from its neighbors Azerbaijan and Turkey.
On April 11th, Azerbaijani troops attacked the border village of Tegh, which is located on the sovereign territory of Armenia. From around 4:00pm-5:30pm local time, Azerbaijan shelled the village, resulting in the deaths of four Armenian soldiers. While the situation has stabilized, the attack is not an isolated incident. The attack is the latest in a series of attacks since September of 2022 by Azerbaijani troops against sovereign Armenian territory. The attacks occur in spite of both sides working on a peace deal to reach a diplomatic solution on the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).
Azerbaijan confidently attacks Armenian territory because the lack of international response to its actions emboldens its leadership to engage in increasingly risky behavior. Azerbaijan’s actions indicate that it still seeks to solve the dispute over Artsakh through force and not through peaceful diplomacy. The attacks are also part of Azerbaijan’s long-standing and demonstrated intent to capture sovereign Armenian territory in Syunik province through the use of force in order to create a corridor to Azerbaijan’s territory of Nakhichevan, which shares a border with Turkey.
Azerbaijan’s actions are in violation of the Trilateral Treaty of 2020 which put an end to the 44 day war. They fly in the face of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) legitimacy by undermining its orders. When a state submits itself to the ICJ’s jurisdiction, as Azerbaijan has done in the case of Armenia v. Azerbaijan, it is bound by the ICJ’s decisions in that case. The ICJ has issued provisional measures ordering Azerbaijan to respect the rights of Armenian PoWs, protect Armenian cultural heritage, and ensure free movement along the Lachin Corridor. Azerbaijan’s actions over the past couple of weeks are not in accordance with these orders. The longer these transgressions go unpunished, the more international law is rendered impotent, because its voluntary nature is useless if a state decides not to implement the decisions of international tribunals.
The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention calls upon Azerbaijan to honor and abide by the legally binding framework of the Trilateral Treaty, the ICJ provisional measures issued in the case of Armenia v. Azerbaijan, and all international norms to which the country has become a State party. The Lemkin Institute also calls for international powers to compel Azerbaijan to act in accordance with its international obligations, to respect the rights of Armenians both in Artsakh and Armenia proper, and to cease its violations of Armenia’s territorial integrity. The Lemkin Institute has several times warned about the genocidal nature of Azerbaijan’s actions and intent towards Armenians. Thus, we call on the international community to take these warnings seriously before it is too late to prevent another genocide of the Armenian people.