CHAPTER 18 A STONE WAR

In the sphere of tention between the right of self-determination and state sovereignity, the aim is to bring both rights on rules into a justifiable state of balance, which takes into account the weight of each in the particular case. Principle 10, Paragraph 4 of the Principle Catalogue of the CSCE Final Act, attempts to express the same thought by formulating that every one of the 10 principles must be interpreted taking into account the other nine .10

Some authors identify the right of self-determination with the right of secession, without recognizing its firm connection with national autonomy, others make considerable demands on the precedence of the principle of territorial integrity. In principle the right of self-determination and sovereignty are of equal strength and priority, as recognized by the Friendly Relations Declaration of 1970, finding their firm place in Principle Catalogue. In spite of the fact that the two norms of law are of the same legal quality, both of them in fact possess different importance. Due to the fact that the integrity of states is of outstanding significance, the right of self-determination in its offensive form appears as a dynamic principle which, with more or less revolutionary force, changes or even destroys existing structures and especially alters the borders of one or more states. This basic relation between sovereignty and self-determination must lead to the maxim that the realization of the right of self-determination can only take place, and is only justified, if the sovereignity of states concerned is preserved to the greatest possible extent. The reasons for exercising the right of self-determination must meet higher and stricter standards. Quite rightly the prevailing in literature on international law takes the view that the right of secession can be claimed under special conditions, only in exceptional cases in contrast to the regular case of having to respect the sovereignty.11

It can be concluded for the problem in question from the difference between the unstable situation (the dissolution of the state) and normal situation to be found in an established system of states and with reference to the League of Nations expertise12 with Hermann Raschhafar that the importance of the state sovereignty of Azerbaijan must be ranked lower than the importance of the sovereignty of a state in “a normal situation” and therefore, lower than the right of self-determination with the right of secession of the Armenians of Nagorny Karabakh. Thus in the case of Nagorny Karabakh a certain change of emphasis in favour of the right of self-determination occurs, i.e. the national right of self-determination of the Armenians of Nagorny Karabakh in the form of the right of secession has precedence over the state sovereignty of Azerbaijan.

Just as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan, since 1989 had, on its way to full state sovereignty and independence from Soviet Unitary State, cited the right of self-determination of peoples, so too can do the Autonomous Region of Nagorny Karabakh.

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