THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Armenia urged judges at a United Nations court Thursday, October 14, to order Azerbaijan to release Armenians detained during a six-week war last year and to stop promoting ethnic hatred. Azerbaijan urged judges to reject the requests as the two nations faced off in a Hague courtroom.
Armenian representative Yeghishe Kirakosyan made the requests as a hearing opened at the International Court of Justice into a petition by Armenia for judges to impose urgent interim measures to prevent Azerbaijan breaching an international convention to stamp out ethnic discrimination.
Among measures Armenia wants the court to impose on Azerbaijan are an order to release and repatriate prisoners of war and halt hate speech aimed at Armenians. Azerbaijan’s deputy foreign minister, Elnur Mammadov, said Armenia’s request “is defective, and must be rejected.”
The case stems from longstanding enmity that boiled over into last year’s war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh that left more than 6,600 people dead. The region is within Azerbaijan but had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
Kirakosyan said Armenia wasn’t asking the court to rule on the root causes of the war, but “seeks to prevent and remedy the cycle of violence and hatred perpetrated against ethnic Armenians.”