International news attests to the blatant injustices and the end of an international legal order built in the aftermath of the disasters and atrocities of World War II. Major powers, such as the United States, Russia and China, through their postures and actions, have slowly but surely neutralized the principles of international law by not respecting them. Among the small but powerful states, Israel is the best example of a country that has considered itself above international law since its occupation of the Palestinian territories: The UN system has adopted more than hundred resolutions condemning Israel since 1947; they have never been implemented. The most recent calls for an immediate ceasefire in present hostilities.
“There can be no double standards when we speak about human rights. The rights of one group of people are not higher than that of the other,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk. He added: “The rules apply equally to everyone.” The decline of respect for human rights and the principles of international law is not recent but the crisis has reached a new peak through the forced, massive displacements of the populations of Karabakh (Artsakh) and Gaza.
It is appropriate to analyze the perspective of the strategic challenges posed to Armenia and the Armenian nation in the light of the current events, geopolitical changes and democratic declines worldwide. This article sets out the reasons why Armenia should adopt a diplomatic strategy of positive neutrality with its various international partners, and what the immediate legal and political challenges are that it faces.
A Disaster Predicted in Karabakh
In an article written at the end of January 2022 (“Autodétermination du Haut-Karabakh: un pronostic engagé ou réservé?” in Haut-Karabakh, le Livre Noir, [Eds. Eric Dénécé, Tigrane Yégavian], Centre Français de Recherche sur le Renseignement (2022)), I concluded that the only realistic solution for Artsakh “could draw inspiration from the experience of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Since Russia already is the de facto administrator of security and police in the disputed territories, it would be appropriate for a mandate to be given to Russia by the UN Security Council. This solution would have the advantage of easing immediate tensions, giving adequate time for discussions on the future status, allowing a controlled return of displaced Armenian and Azerbaijani families to their homes, and observing in time the behavior of the communities towards each other. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic should take advantage of this respite to demonstrate its capacity for self-government. Azerbaijan should use this time to end its policy of institutional hatred and racial discrimination. This transitional stage would be long but inevitable to reestablish trust between the two populations.”
It was specified that the implementation of such a solution depended on three factors: the consent of all stakeholders, the resolution of governance problems in Armenia and the evolution of the regional geopolitical situation.