Expert: For Azerbaijan, European Court’s judgment more important than 4 UN resolutions

Expert: For Azerbaijan, European Court’s judgment more important than 4 UN resolutions
# 17 June 2015 16:57 (UTC +04:00)

Baku. Ramiz Mikayiloglu – APA. “This is a major victory and a great achievement for Azerbaijan,” Rector of Azerbaijan University, PhD in Law Farid Ahmadov told APA in his remarks on the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Chiragov and Others versus Armenia.

F. Ahmadov said the claim of Chiragov and others have to do with the violation of Chiragov’s and others’ right to own property in Lachin district. According to the claim, the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories brought about violation of property rights, which in turn means the violation of the first provision of the first protocol of the European Convention. The court judgment reflects this.

Ahmadov mentioned that the ECHR Grand Chamber has also passed a judgment on the case of Sargysan and others versus Azerbaijan based on Armenian claims.

“The claim of Sargsyan and others notes that the property rights were violated by Azerbaijan and that the court judgment has confirmed it. I have reviewed courts hearings on the case of Chiragov and others versus Armenia. The Armenians say the invader of these territories is not the Armenian state but the so-called army of the “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”. In this case, the Armenian state bears no responsibility. The fact which the court was supposed to shed light on is that if Armenian indeed has effective control over the occupied territories. If so, it means Armenia is responsible for any violation of the European Convention in Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts. Any action committed in the occupied lands belongs to Armenian, not the “NKR”. The court had long tried to clarify this fact and at last it did.

The court confirms that the Armenia army exercises effective control over those territories, therefore Armenia bears responsibility for this. On the other hand, the case of Sargsyan and others versus Azerbaijan was related with the violation of the right to own property of Armenians deported from Azerbaijan. Simply, the Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Chiragov and others versus Armenia confirms the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia.

Ahmadov said the Grand Chamber judgment is very important for Azerbaijan.

“The fact of occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia has so far been confirmed only by political bodies. The UN Security Council is not a judicial authority, and its decisions can be described as politicized ones. But European peoples, who often demonstrate a biased attitude toward Azerbaijan, were forced to pass such a judgment as the facts in this case were so clear.

This is a more important and significant judgment for Azerbaijan than the four UN resolutions. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia accepted the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. The judgment doesn’t include Armenia’s obligation. This stands out the authority of the ECHR. The Court reveals a violation of the Convention. The ECHR has no authority to order Armenia leave the occupied territories. However, so far, if the UN Security Council resolutions gave legitimacy to Azerbaijan’s position in the talks on settlement of the conflict, the judgment of the ECHR will more legitimate our position. It is the judgment of the most influential judicial authority of the world and Europe. It is further legitimizing the positions of Azerbaijani officials participating in the negotiations and opening up an opportunity to demonstrate our fully substantiated position. Armenia has speculated about four resolutions of the UN Security Council so far. They said that it is not mentioned in the resolutions whether “NKR” or Armenia occupied the territories. Though, Armenian lied, they claimed that the UN resolutions are not clear. As the text of the resolutions was written by the United Nations Security Council and they were documents achieved as a result of political agreement, all members of the UN Security Council should have agreed upon the text. Therefore, the Security Council reached compromise texts, otherwise the United States, Russia and others wanted to veto. Armenia's name is also mentioned in the resolutions. The Grand Chamber judgment is clearly about the Armenian Armed Forces. It should be regarded as the approval of the UN Security Council resolutions and further strengthening of these resolutions. Lawyers representing Azerbaijan in the court were the most influential scientists of the world's most prestigious universities. Azerbaijan was defended by Malcolm Shaw, Urdaneta Vitek, Gabirel Lansky and Hans Tretter. For example, British lawyer Malcolm Shaw is a great scientist, we have read international law in his books. The government of Azerbaijan involved such prestigious scientists in this case.”

Ahmedov mentioned that 3 judges rejected the judgment at the ECHR Grand Chamber having special opinion. Azerbaijani judge Khanlar Hajiyev had also special opinion, but this opinion is a position regarding some points in the judgment about Azerbaijan. One judge agreed with the court's judgment, but had special opinions in this regard: “Portuguese, Latvian and Armenian judges have a special judgment on the case “Chiragov and others versus Armenia”, that’s not agreed with the result of the decision passed by the court on the case “Chiragov and others versus Armenia”. These judges think that the national minorities have right to stand out of the state. The first, the special judgment has not any legal force during these decisions, but an academic force. We – lawyers discuss these judgments only in the scientific circles. The judges of the Constitution Court of Azerbaijan have also right to have special judgment. The second, the decision on the case “Chiragov and others versus Armenia” has been adopted in the European Court for Human Rights with the majority of votes. Only three of 17 judges rejected by having special judgment. Even if the judgment will be passed with 9 votes against 8 votes, the opinion of the 8 persons will remain as their opinions. Third, as for our attitude towards the special opinion, it has no basis in the international law. According to the international law, minorities do not have the right to secede, and the right of peoples to self-determination does not include the right to secede. Some scientists with this opinion constitute minorities. The scientists with self-esteem consider that the principle of territorial integrity exists, and the international law doesn’t include the right to secede. Most importantly, the right of minorities to secede is regulated by the state’s law, that is in the context of constitutional law. For example, under the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the issue of territorial disputes is solved via referendum. For example, Scotland intended to secede from the UK. But was it solved with international law? It was settled with the domestic law of the UK. Or the Spanish Constitutional Court has recently passed a judgment regarding the secession of Basques that the attempt to secede is contrary to the Constitution. That is, in general, the right to secede is not regulated by international law, and this should be given to the exclusive competence of states and regarded as the subject of regulation of the Constitutional law. Many scientists also confirmed this idea.”

Commenting on the case’s being considered by International Criminal Court in The Hague, F. Ahmadov said it is impossible. “As Armenia doesn’t accept jurisdiction of The Hague Court, we cannot file a claim against Armenia in this court, and the court will not accept the case for consideration. Armenia does not intend to accept this jurisdiction, because it knows that it will lose in this court”, he said.

Nagorno Garabagh