Apr 022016
 

MOSCOW / WASHINGTON / PARIS, 2 April, 2016 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) express grave concern over the reported large-scale ceasefire violations that are taking place along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. We strongly condemn the use of force and regret the senseless loss of life, including civilians.

The Co-Chairs call upon the sides to stop shooting and take all necessary measures to stabilize the situation on the ground. They reiterate that there is no alternative to a peaceful negotiated solution of the conflict and that war is not an option.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Mar 172016
 

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), established by the Council of Europe, is an independent human rights monitoring body specialised in questions relating to racism and intolerance. It is composed of independent and impartial members appointed on the basis of their moral authority and recognised expertise in dealing with racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.

In the framework of its statutory activities, ECRI conducts country monitoring work, which analyses the situation in each of the member States regarding racism and intolerance and draws up suggestions and proposals for dealing with the problems identified.

Here is what the 2016 ERCI report on Azerbaijan says about recurrent hate speech towards Armenians:

25. Other sources confirm recurrent hate speech towards Armenians, which is connected with the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the frequent ceasefire violations at the contact line and the resulting deaths and injuries. The Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ACFC) for example noted “a persistent public narrative surrounding the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh identifying [in]variably Armenia or Armenians as ‘the enemy’ and openly promulgating hate messages”. According to other sources, there is a conflict-ridden domestic political discourse and Azerbaijan’s leadership, education system and media are very prolific in their denigration of Armenians. Political opponents are accused of having Armenian roots or of receiving funds from Armenian sources. An entire generation of Azerbaijanis has now grown up listening to constant rhetoric of Armenian aggression. According to a 2012 survey, 91% perceived Armenia as Azerbaijan’s greatest enemy. As a result, the Armenians living in the country need to hide their ethnic affiliation and there is no organisation of the Armenian minority in the country with which ECRI’s delegation could have met. The human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus, who worked inter alia towards reconciliation with Armenia, have been arrested and sentenced under controversial accusations to heavy prison terms. Both were conditionally released at the end of 2015.

[…]

38. ECRI has not received any official information about violent hate crime based on ethnic affiliation committed in Azerbaijan in the last five years, but, given the ongoing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, ECRI is concerned that the on-going waves of hate speech create a risk of violence. In this connection ECRI expressed, in a press release of 4 September 2012, its consternation at the pardoning and release of Ramil Safarov, shortly after he had been transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan in order to serve there a sentence of life imprisonment imposed by a Budapest court for the murder of an Armenian army officer in 2004. Moreover, Ramil Safarov was promoted to the rank of major, given a flat and the pay he had lost since his arrest in Hungary. In its press release, ECRI pointed out the risk that such action could cultivate a sense of impunity for the perpetrators of racist crimes of the most serious nature.


File: 2016 ERCI Report on Azerbaijan
Source: Publications, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Feb 012016
 

“Why is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still not Resolved”

KocharyanBy Shavarsh Kocharyan
MIA Publishers, Yerevan 2016

The current phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue has started since the last years of the existence of the USSR and turned into a conflict as a result of the policy of power adopted by Azerbaijan in response to the implementation of the right to self-determination by the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict differs from other conflicts of the former Soviet area by the fact that the people of Nagorno- Karabakh impeccably implemented its right to self-determination within the legal frameworks before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the bloodiest conflict of the post-Soviet area with tens of thousands of victims, hundreds of thousands of refugees and massive destruction. The military phase of the confl ict ended in May 1994 with an open-ended ceasefire agreement. Notably during the past 22 years the large-scale military operations have not been renewed, and the relative peace has been preserved without the involvement
of international peacekeeping forces.
The mediators in the negotiation process of the Nagorno-Karabakh confl ict resolution are the 3 out of the 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, the USA and France. Despite the consistent efforts of the mediators, the Nagorno-Karabakh confl ict remains unresolved. The main reason is that Azerbaijan acts in contrary to the purposes of the United Nations.

The opinions presented below may differ from the opinions of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR).

FILES:

Jan 222016
 

VIENNA, 22 January 2016 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France – welcome efforts to find a negotiated settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and are prepared to work cooperatively with those committed to a peaceful settlement.

We understand that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) may consider resolutions on the conflict in the near future and remind PACE, and other regional and international organizations, that the Minsk Group remains the only accepted format for negotiations. We appreciate the interest paid by PACE members, but urge that steps not be taken which could undermine the Minsk Group’s mandate from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe or complicate ongoing negotiations.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Nov 122015
 

VIENNA, 12 November 2015 – In response to questions received by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group about the report and draft resolution currently under discussion in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), we take note of the attention paid by PACE to a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. We share concerns, expressed in the resolution, regarding an increase of tensions along the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan and along the Line of Contact. We deeply regret the loss of lives, including civilians.

We agree that the conflict has lasted too long. The sides should undertake all measures necessary to expedite a peaceful settlement.

We are convinced that measures to reach a negotiated settlement should be based on mutual agreement between the sides as emphasized in the Joint Statements made by the Presidents of France, the Russian Federation, and the United States, and supported by the international community.

The Co-Chairs will continue to render assistance to the parties, taking into consideration our mandate, approved by the OSCE. According to the OSCE mandate, our task is to promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict and in particular to facilitate negotiations on a comprehensive settlement. We are neither judges nor advocates for particular positions.

There are proposals to create new negotiating formats and working groups on the settlement of the conflict. We believe that in the framework of the Minsk Group there is unique mediation experience. The Minsk Group format is accepted by the parties and has the full confidence of all OSCE participating States. Considering the sensitivity of the negotiations, attempts to change the format or create parallel mechanisms can disrupt the negotiation process and impede progress towards a settlement. At the same time, we are prepared to cooperate with all international organizations, which demonstrate an interest in finding a just and sustainable settlement to the conflict.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Oct 262015
 

October 26, 2015

The Honorable James Warlick
U.S. Co-Chair
OSCE Minsk Group
Dear Ambassador Warlick:

We are writing out of concern over the escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in deaths on both sides of the conflict. It is our hope that the United States, through its role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, as well as through direct diplomacy with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, will immediately advocate for several steps to promote peace in the region.

We believe that securing the full and public support of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Nagorno-Karabakh for the following steps would, in the short-term, save lives and help to avert war. Over the longer term, these steps could contribute to a comprehensive and enduring peace for all the citizens of the region.

An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers along the line of contact.

The placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.

The deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations.

We also urge you to publicly condemn specific acts of aggression along the line of contact. The longstanding U.S. and OSCE practice of responding to each new attack with generic calls upon all parties to refrain from violence has failed to de-escalate the situation. Instead, this policy of artificial evenhandedness has dangerously increased tensions. There will be no peace absent responsibility.

Thank you for your consideration of these recommendations. We continue to support your efforts to reach a durable and just resolution to this conflict and look forward to your response.
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Sep 262015
 

New York, 26 September 2015 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France), together with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, held a meeting on 24 September with the Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian, and a separate meeting on 25 September with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov. They also met jointly with the two Foreign Ministers to discuss the immediate need to reduce tensions along the Line of Contact and international border, to advance negotiations on a lasting settlement, and to implement confidence-building measures. The Ministers agreed to continue preparations with the Co-Chairs on the next presidential summit, which is expected to be held before the end of this year.

The Co-Chairs called for the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to accept an OSCE mechanism to investigate ceasefire violations. Without such a mechanism, the sides will continue to blame each other for initiating deadly attacks on the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Armenia has agreed to discuss the details of the mechanism, and we urged Azerbaijan to do the same.

The Co-Chairs condemned in strong terms the use of artillery that caused additional casualties in the last twenty-four hours. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. An escalation of violence is not in the interest of Azerbaijanis or Armenians, or a negotiated settlement.

The Co-Chairs encouraged the sides to implement people-to-people programs to build trust between societies affected by the conflict.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Jun 162015
 

In the Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Chiragov and Others v. Armenia (application no. 13216/05) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been:

a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the European
Convention on Human Rights;

a continuing violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention;
and

a continuing violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).

The case concerned the complaints by six Azerbaijani refugees that they were unable to return to their homes and property in the district of Lachin, in Azerbaijan, from where they had been forced to flee in 1992 during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

There are currently more than one thousand individual applications pending before the Court which were lodged by persons displaced during the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

In the applicants’ case, the Court confirmed that Armenia exercised effective control over Nagorno- Karabakh and the surrounding territories and thus had jurisdiction over the district of Lachin.

The Court considered that there was no justification for denying the applicants access to their property without providing them with compensation. The fact that peace negotiations were ongoing did not free the Government from their duty to take other measures. What was called for was a property claims mechanism which would be easily accessible to allow the applicants and others in their situation to have their property rights restored and to obtain compensation.


Source: ECHR Case of Chiragov and Others v. Armenia
File: ECHR Case of Chiragov and Others v. Armenia

ECHR Press Release with the summary: Grand Chamber judgment Chiragov and Others v. Armenia – Azerbaijani refugees’ lack of access to property

Jun 162015
 

In the Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan (application no. 40167/06) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been:

a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the European
Convention on Human Rights;

a continuing violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention;
and

a continuing violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).

The case concerned an Armenian refugee’s complaint that, after having been forced to flee from his home in the Shahumyan region of Azerbaijan in 1992 during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, he had since been denied the right to return to his village and to have access to and use his property there.

It was the first case in which the Court had to decide on a complaint against a State which had lost control over part of its territory as a result of war and occupation, but which at the same time was alleged to be responsible for refusing a displaced person access to property in an area remaining under its control.

There are currently more than one thousand individual applications pending before the Court which were lodged by persons displaced during the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

In Mr Sargsyan’s case, the Court confirmed that, although the village from which he had to flee was located in a disputed area, Azerbaijan had jurisdiction over it.

The Court considered that while it was justified by safety considerations to refuse civilians access to the village, the State had a duty to take alternative measures in order to secure Mr Sargsyan’s rights as long as access to the property was not possible. The fact that peace negotiations were ongoing did not free the Government from their duty to take other measures. What was called for was a property claims mechanism which would be easily accessible to allow Mr Sargsyan and others in his situation to have their property rights restored and to obtain compensation.


Source: ECHR Case of Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan
File: ECHR Case of Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan

ECHR Press Release with the summary: Grand Chamber judgment Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan – Armenian refugee’s lack of access to property

Jan 272015
 

KRAKOW, 27 January 2015 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) met with Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov today in Krakow. The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, also participated in the meeting.

We expressed to the Minister our serious concern about reported incursions across the Line of Contact and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, resulting in casualties. The rise in violence that began last year must stop for confidence to be restored and progress to be made in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. We called on Azerbaijan to observe its commitments to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. We also call on Armenia to take all measures to reduce tensions. All sides must abide by the terms of the ceasefire agreement. Violence undermines efforts to bring about peace.

We discussed with the Minister possible next steps in the peace process, including comprehensive negotiations that can lead to a lasting settlement which would benefit all the people of the region. We reminded the Minister of our mandates and expressed concern about voices critical of the ongoing negotiation process, the role of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and the duties of OSCE monitors.

We emphasized the importance of measures aimed at avoiding unintended incidents along the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border. We also discussed the implementation at the earliest opportunity of the Presidents’ agreement to exchange data on missing persons under the aegis of the ICRC.

The Co-Chairs plan to meet with Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian in the near future and then travel to the region.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page