Jan 012015
 

“Nagorno-Karabagh: Legal Aspects”

Legal-Aspects-CoverMIA Publishers, Fifth Edition, Moscow 2015
By Shahen Avakian
The study covers the legal aspects of Nagorno Karabagh problem. It examines the issues of Law as they affected the legal status of Nagorno Karabagh.

The author is an expert of International Law. He has graduated from the Paris Sorbonne University and is specialized in International Public Law and International Organizations law.

This study is the fi fth revised edition and contains additional information and updates. The publications of the earlier editions of this research are also availble in Armenian, French, Russian, Arabic, Greek and Spanish.

FILES:

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Dec 012012
 

“The Sumgait Syndrome. Anatomy of Racism in Azerbaijan”

MIA Publishers, 2012
By NGO “Against Xenophobia and Violence”

Sumgait is 26 kilometres from Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, and was home to some 18,000 Armenians in 1988. On 26 and 27 February 1988, demonstrations were organised in Sumgait under the slogan
“Death to Armenians!” What took place on the streets of Azerbaijan during the following three days has been referred to ever since with the horrific name of “Sumgait”.
The massacre of Armenians in Sumgait, February 27–29, were merely a continuation of the Azerbaijani authorities’ unswerving policy of racism towards Armenians and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population, with unpunished killings and deportations.

FILE:

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Apr 031996
 

FACT SHEET: NAGORNO-KARABAGH

ARMENIAN RESEARCH CENTER

The University of Michigan-Dearborn

Dearborn, MI 48128

The Autonomous Region of Mountainous Karabagh (also known in America as Nagorno-Karabagh) recently declared independence from Azerbaijan because of continued persecution, oppression, and human and civil rights violations by the Azeri Turks. It was attached to Azerbaijan as an Autonomous Region by Joseph Stalin in 1921 and has suffered under Azeri rule from that time onward.
Mountainous Karabagh had a pre-war population of approximately 200,000 people, 77% of whom were Christian Armenians. The remaining 23% were mainly Muslim Azeri Turks. Nagorno-Karabagh’s capital is Stepanakert. It has an area of about 1,700 square miles, slightly smaller than the state of Delaware.

  • On December 10, 1991, Nagorno-Karabagh held an independence referendum in which 82% of all voters participated, and 99% voted for independence.
  • On January 6, 1992, the leaders of Nagorno-Karabagh declared independence as the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh (RMK).
  • On January 8, 1992, Artur Mkrtchian was elected President and Oleg Yessaian as Prime Minister of Karabagh by Karabagh’s Parliament. Note that this Presidency is not an independent office such as in the United States.
  • On January 24, 1992, Karabagh’s Parliament elected Georgi Petrosian to the office of Vice President.
  • On April 14, Artur Mkrtchian died in an accidental weapons misfire. Georgi Petrosian became acting President.
  • On May 8, the Karabagh Defense Forces took Shushi, a city in Karabagh overlooking Stepanakert, from which the Azeris had been shelling Stepanakert.
  • On May 18, the Karabagh Defense Forces took Lachin and connected Karabagh to Armenia, thus breaking the Azeri economic blockade on Karabagh (however, Armenia’s situation was not much better since it too was—and still is—under Azeri blockade).
  • On June 12, following the June 7 election of Abulfez Elchibey as President of Azerbaijan, the Azeris launched a massive offensive that seized almost half of Karabagh by September. Beginning in late fall, the Karabagh Defense Forces retook nearly all of these territories and restored the political integrity of Karabagh by late March 1993.
  • On March 27, 1993, the Karabagh Defense Forces, to forestall an Azeri spring offensive, launched attacks at two strategic Azeri cities, Kelbajar and Fizuli. They took Kelbajar on April 3, but were unable to take Fizuli. The capture of Kelbajar gave Karabagh a new connection to Armenia.
  • On June 14, acting President Georgi Petrosian resigned as Armenian President Levon Ter Petrosian travels to Stepanakert to persuade the Presidium of Karabagh’s Parliament to accept a new CSCE peace plan, which it does by a vote of 6 to 5. Garen Baburian became the new acting President.
  • June through August 1993 was a time of confusion in Azerbaijan as Surat Huseinov led a revolt against Elchibey; Haidar Aliyev became the new President of Azerbaijan; and a short-lived Mughan-Talish Republic was declared in Lenkoran, a port city near the Iranian border.
  • July 23 to September 4 1993, Karabagh Defense Forces take Agdam, Fizuli, Jebrail, and Horadiz (although Horadiz keeps changing hands), thus taking the war to the rest of Azerbaijan.
  • From December 22, 1993, to November 1994, the re-formed Azeri army, stiffened by Turkish and MegaOil (renegade Americans) training; Ukrainian, Turkish, and Chinese weaponry; and Afghan mujaheddin, launched new unsuccessful attacks on Karabagh.
  • In May of 1994 a tenuous cease-fire went into effect, which is still holding today.
  • December 28, 1994, The Karabagh Parliament created an independent Presidency such as in the United States and elected Robert Kocharian to fill it the next day.

Historical Background:

Historically Armenian, Nagorno-Karabagh was connected to Armenia in ancient times, a connection that was lost after the division of the Armenian Kingdom in 387 AD. With the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Karabagh fell under Arab rule, where it stayed for 300 years.

In the eleventh century, Karabagh came under the rule of the Bagratid Kings of Georgia, relatives of the Armenian Bagratids, who held it until the Mongol invasion. After 100 years of Mongol rule, Karabagh fell into Turkish hands, where it stayed until the Persians took power in the early 1600s.

In 1603, Shah Abbas the Great of Persia allowed local Armenian rule in Karabagh under five meliks (kings). These five kinglets, later joined—but not supplanted—by a Muslim khanate, survived until the Russian conquest of Karabagh in 1828.

Under Russian rule, a deliberate effort was made to link Karabagh economically with the “Baku Province,” later to be named Azerbaijan. With the withdrawal of Russian power following the Russian democratic revolution in February/March of 1917, Karabagh reemerged as a state, governed by the Assembly of Karabagh Armenians.

The Azerbaijanis, who were trying to organize their own state, contested the Armenians’ right to rule Karabagh, even though it was overwhelmingly Armenian. The Azeris first turned for help to the British occupation force led by General Dunsterville, then to the Ottoman army under Nuri Pasha, and finally to the Russian Bolsheviks. With foreign aid, they won out.

Soviet Period:

At first the Soviets returned Nagorno-Karabagh to Armenia; but after a brief period, Joseph Stalin gave it to Azerbaijan as an “autonomous region,” and altered the boundaries so that Karabagh was cut off from Armenia and was smaller in size.

The next 70-plus years witnessed Azeri persecution of Armenians in an attempt to drive them out and replace them with Azeris, as was done in the Armenian territory of Nakhichevan.

In the Gorbachev era of glasnost, the Armenians brought the persecution of their brethren to the world’s attention through massive peaceful demonstrations in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, in February 1988.

By openly and bravely protesting Soviet ethnic injustice for the first time, the reform movement in Nagorno-Karabagh ignited the independence movements in the Soviet Bloc of Eastern Europe. The “Karabagh Movement” is thus the grandfather of freedom not only in Eastern Europe but in the former USSR itself.

At that time the Armenians wanted to attach Nagorno-Karabagh to Armenia, to ensure its survival, but now they respect the wishes of the Nargorno-Karabagh Armenians to be independent. The independence movement has been met with appalling violence from the Azeris. In February 1988 there was a pogrom (massacre) against Armenians in Sumgait, a suburb of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. In November of 1988, there was a pogrom against Armenians in Kirovabad (now Ganja), in the interior of Azerbaijan. In 1989-90, there are joint Soviet-Azerbaijani forced deportations of Armenians living in towns and villages of Azerbaijan bordering Nagorno- Karabagh. In January of 1990, there was pogrom against Armenians in Baku itself.

When the Azeris began an outright military assault on the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabagh itself, they took up arms to defend their homes, their land, and their ancient culture. The Armenians are fighting for self-preservation and for the right of self- determination, while the Azeris are fighting to expel an ancient people from their historic homeland and to preserve power over a foreign province.

Today, a tenous cease-fire is in place and has been holding for the past 16 months. However, the Azeris number eight million and have a wealth of oil resources to draw upon in the coming years, and the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabagh only 160,000 and scant resources. Very little would prevent the Azeris from reopening hostilities and starting a full-scale war once the oil money enters its coffers. A genocide similar to that of 1915 is threatened unless the world takes an interest in and protects the lives of the embattled Armenian minority.

Despite numerous acts of provocation on the part of Azerbaijan—including a six-year-old blockade of Armenia—the Armenian government has studiously avoided being drawn into the war between the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabagh and the Azeri leaders in Baku. In October 1992, the US Congress enacted legislation banning direct US assistance to the government of Azerbaijan until the blockade is lifted and the aggression ends.

The six-year-old war has taken the lives of more than 16,000 people, and over 1,000,000 have been displaced. Azerbaijan currently has 600,000-1,000,000 refugees, Armenia 400,000 refugees, and Nagorno-Karabagh 60,000 refugees.

Current Issues:

  • The United States and the United Nations should recognize the independence of the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh.
  • Azeri leaders and Turkish leaders should reduce belligerent talk and cease to incite their people to war.
  • Azerbaijan should cease hiring mujaheddin and other foreign mercenaries.
  • Turkey should no longer train and supply Azerbaijani troops and should cease threatening gestures towards Armenia.
  • Azerbaijan and Turkey should cease their illegal blockades of Armenia and Karabagh, which have caused untold suffering and death for the civilian population of Armenia.
  • A permanent truce must be agreed upon and enforced.
  • United Nations troops should be sent in to monitor a self- determination plebiscite.

Current Situation

The current situation is one of “no peace, no war.” Negotiations continue, but with Azerbaijan insisting on the principle of “territorial integrity” (despite the fact that Eritrea was recognized by the world community as independent from Ethiopia after a war), little progress has been made.

April 3, 1996

Apr 011993
 

Ethnic Cleansing in Progress: War in Nagorno Karabakh

Institute for Religious Minorities in Islamic World (April 1993)
By Caroline COX and John EIBNER

Contents
Preface
Introduction
Basic Facts
A Conflict of Civilizations
The Genocide
The Pincers of Pan-Turkism
Soviet Rule
The Karabakh Question Revived
Operation Ring
The Post-Soviet Conflict
The Characteristics of the People of Nagorno Karabakh
The Prognosis: Continuing Bloodshed
Conclusions
Recommendations


Available online at: Sumgait.info

Jan 211993
 

The European Parliament,

  1. aware of the tragic situation of the 300 000 Armenian refugees who have fled the pogroms in Azerbaijan,
  2. whereas, four years after the earthquake which struck Armenia, living conditions in the disaster areas are perilous,
  3. whereas the CSCE is endeavouring to establish peace by creating the basis for a settlement negotiated between the Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh authorities,
  4. whereas the economic blockade imposed by Azerbaijan and the resulting energy crisis are designed to draw Armenia into a direct armed conflict,
  1. Gives its full backing to the CSCE peace process and calls for an immediate ceasefire between the parties to the conflict;
  2. Takes the view that the relentless blockade carried out by Azerbaijan constitutes a violation of international law and insists that the Azerbaijani Government lift it forthwith;
  3. Calls on the Commission to release appropriations for Armenia in order to support the democratization process (Tacis programme) and meet the population’s most pressing tangible needs (Echo programme);
  4. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, European Political Cooperation, the CSCE Secretary-General and the Governments of Armenia and of Azerbaijan.

Source: Resolution B3-0049/93 [15.2.93 Official Journal of the European Communities No C42/165]

File: European Parliament Resolution B3-0049/93

Mar 141991
 

The European Parliament,

  1. whereas the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh have been calling on the central authorities of the USSR for a just solution to the question of their region since February 1988,
  2. whereas, as a consequence of the decision by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 28 November 1989, the state of emergency imposed by the military governor of this region has entailed the removal of all the legitimate authorities and continual violations of human rights, such as arbitrary arrests, censorship and deportations,
  3. whereas the referendum of 17 March 1991 — which Armenia has decided to boycott — will not provide a solution to the Karabakh problem, which calls for a special referendum of a different kind enabling the national groups in this region to exercise their right to self-determination;
  4. whereas the blockade afflicting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which is sometimes suspended only to be subsequently re-imposed more severely, is raising the tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia to breaking point,
  5. whereas the 300 000 Armenians who have fled from Azerbaijan (Baku and Sumgait massacres) to Armenia are in a state of complete destitution and require urgent aid,
  6. whereas the shortage of energy, and in particular gas, currently affecting Armenia as a result of the blockade has given rise to serious problems in that republic, including the closure of factories, unemployment and paralysis of the transport system,
  7. whereas as a result of the earthquake and the massacres of Armenians in Azerbaijan more than 500 000 people are now faced with extreme hardship, unable to obtain heating at a time when the temperatures in the region could be falling to 25° below zero,
  1. Calls on President Gorbachev to take urgent and effective steps to bring an end once and for all to the intermittent blockades affecting Armenia and Karabakh and to the threats to the security of the national groups in Karabakh and the neighbouring Armenian enclaves who are seemingly being deliberately forced out;
  2. Calls on President Gorbachev to restore to office the legitimate and constitutional political authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh;
  3. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the Soviet Union.

Source: Resolution B3-0473/91 [22.4.91 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 106/121]

File: European Parliament Resolution B3-0473/91

Sep 011990
 

“The Sumgait Tragedy: Pogroms Against Armenians in Soviet Azerbaijan (Volume I, Eyewitness Accounts)”

By the ZORYAN INSTITUTE
Edited by: Samyel SHAHMURATIAN

For three days in February, 1988, the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait became the arena of pogroms against the Armenians of the city. The Sumgait tragedy was a brutal, organized attempt to block a political solution to the peaceful demands of the Armenians of Mountainous Karabagh for self-determination. These events marked the beginning of a premeditated plan to depopulate Azerbaijan of Armenians, and eventually of Russians and Jews.
The Sumgait Tragedy: Pogroms Against Armenians in Soviet Azerbaijan (Volume I, Eyewitness Accounts) is a compilation of 36 interviews conducted by Armenian journalist Samvel Shahmuratian with 45 of the Sumgait survivors. These testimonies give painful answers to critical questions? What happened in Sumgait? Why was the impending slaughter not averted? Why did measures to halt the massacres come too late? Why did the events not receive complete analysis and coverage by the mass media, the government, and judicial bodies? The answers to these questions come from the victims themselves, in halting painful narratives. Maps included.

Source: Zoryan Institute

Jan 191990
 

Azerbaijan is no Lithuania. True, resurgent nationalism arouses people in the Caucasus just as it arouses the Baltic republics. But there the comparison ends – and the trouble for Moscow begins.

Nationalists in Lithuania are struggling to wrest independence from Moscow by nonviolent, political means. Nationalists in Azerbaijan also talk of independence, but their protest includes bloody pogroms against their Armenian neighbors. Nor do Azerbaijani nationalists limit their actions to Soviet Azerbaijan. They transgress the border with Iran to make common cause with Azerbaijanis there.

Mikhail Gorbachev seems prepared to bargain with Lithuania’s nationalists. But Azerbaijan’s violent nationalists leave him no choice but to send in the troops.

The nationalism now surging from Omsk to Tomsk is an understandable reaction to decades of forced assimilation. Stalin redrew borders, relocated populations and suppressed cultural and religious differences, all in the name of internationalism. But ancient national aspirations did not dis-appear.

This week’s massacre in Baku, of predominantly Christian Armenians by Muslim Azerbaijanis, shows nationalism at its nastiest. Generations of religious hatred erupted in spasmodic violence two years ago as armed Azerbaijanis rampaged through the town of Sumgait and slaughtered 32 people, mostly Armenians. After the 1988 earthquake that killed 25,000 Armenians, Azerbaijanis blocked railways to Armenia, holding up aid. Now the rivals vie for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave that Stalin incorporated into Azerbaijan in 1923.


The Armenians sought protection from Moscow. Mr. Gorbachev first resisted but renewed strife forced him to intervene. The Azerbaijanis added to his unease by declaring their interest in carving out a state on both sides of the national border. This was a clear threat to Iran’s territorial integrity and its warming relations with the Soviet Union. Teheran asked the Soviets to beef up border patrols.

Mr. Gorbachev and his reformist Kremlin allies are prepared to tolerate, even encourage, moderate nationalists who challenge central control and demand autonomy. But Moscow rightly feels that, in a polyglot country with 104 different nationalities, ethnic violence is beyond the pale.

Azerbaijan dramatizes Mr. Gorbachev’s larger dilemma. To generate economic thrust, he wants to shift power from Moscow’s stodgy bureaucracies to the regional republics. But how can he do this without unleashing nationalist hatreds and irredentism? The problem is illustrated by the struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region as big as Long Island with a population of 160,000.

Putting either Azerbaijanis or Armenians in charge would leave one people at the mercy of the other. Moscow has to assume direct control. But that runs counter to Mr. Gorbachev’s desire for devolution. And the troops, once introduced, will be difficult to extricate. Nothing so challenges Mr. Gorbachev’s resourcefulness, and his fragile coalition of reformists and moderate nationalists, as the flow of blood in the Caucasus.


Source: New York Times

Jan 181990
 

The European Parliament

A. having regard to the resumption of anti-Armenian activities by the Azeris in Baku (an initial estimate talks of numerous victims, some of whom died in particularly horrific circumstances) and the attacks on Armenian villages outside Nagorno-Karabakh, such as Shaumyan and Getashen,

B. whereas there is severe tension on the border between Armenia and Nakhichevan which could lead to serious incidents,

C. whereas the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh has been reinstated by Azerbaijan as harshly as ever,

D. whereas the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan are almost in a state of war,

E. deploring the increased nationalism now evident which can only prejudice justified national pride,

F. whereas the conflict now taking place is largely the result of the dividing up of the territory imposed by Lenin in Transcaucasia, and particularly the forced integration of the Autonomous Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenian Christians, into the Muslim republic of Azerbaijan in 1923.

G. whereas the decision taken by the Supreme Soviet on 28 November 1989 to alter the present status of Nagorno-Karabakh flies in the face of the wishes of the population of that autonomous region, thus creating even more ‘explosive’ conditions,

H. whereas the Fabian tactics of the Soviet authorities over the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh has helped to worsen the situation for which it would have been possible to find a peaceful solution some eighteen months ago,

I. noting with concern that, according to some sources, arms from Iran have been delivered to the Azeris,

J. having regard to the many political, ethnic and economic difficulties facing the Soviet Government,

K. concerned at the consequences that the repeated threats of secession could have on the budding process of democratization in the Soviet Union and on the maintenance and strengthening of peace,

L. having regard to its resolution of 7 July 1988 on the situation in Soviet Armenia (‘),

 

1. Calls on the Commission and Council to make representations to the Soviet authorities with a view to ensuring:

— that they order the full and immediate lifting of the blockade imposed on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,

— that they find a lasting political solution to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh,

— that they guarantee real protection for the Armenian people living in Azerbaijan by sending forces to intervene,

— that they guarantee freedom of movement and the safety of goods and persons between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,

— that the circumstances surrounding the pogroms perpetrated against the Armenians, in particular in Sumgait and Kirovabad, Azerbaijan, are brought fully to light;

2. Calls on the Commission to grant substantial emergency aid to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in the form of basic essentials;

3. Calls on the authorities of the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan to seek the means of achieving a peaceful settlement to the conflict between the two communities;

4. Calls on all countries, in particular the countries bordering on Armenia and Azerbaijan, to avoid all interference;

5. Instructs its Bureau to consider the appropriateness of sending a fact-finding mission to Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia to report to the Political Affairs Committee;

6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and Council, the Governments of Iran, Turkey and the USSR, the Governments of the SSRs of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Secretary General of the UN.


Source: Joint resolution replacing Docs. B3-137, 139, 145, 156, 157 and 162/90 [19.2.90 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 38/81]

File: European Parliament Joint resolution replacing Docs. B3-137, 139, 145, 156, 157 and 162/90