CHAPTER 19 NAGORNO- KARABAKH’S RIGHTS ACCORDING TO INTERNATIONAL LAW

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.

The Republic of Azerbaijan has forfeited the claim to keep the Armenian ethnic group in its state federation by their 70-year juridical and actual denial of the regional autonomy of Karabakh. The statutory definition of discrimination is fulfilled in its chronological dimension and to such a degree that the Armenian ethnic groups right of self-determination in its strongest form, intensifies to a right of secession, compared to which the interest of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the undiminished preservation of its territorial integrity and sovereinty is secondary.13 Important in this context is the fact that the Republic of Azerbaijan received its sovereignty and state independence at a time when the Armenian ethnic group in Nagorny Karabakh was already fully exercising its right of self-determination. The Armenian minority of Karabakh is a subject of the right of self-determination, because it fulfills all the characteristics of such an ethnic group, which has got yet exercised its right in a binding manner and thereby exhausted it. The right of self-determination is to be seen neither in the subjugation to Baku, through the treaty of August 22, 1919, nor in the regional autonomy established in 1923-1924, nor in the participation in the elections and nor in freedom for cultivation of the national characteristics of the Armenian ethnic group. In this exceptional case, that is to say, when a national minority is discriminated against in an unbearable manner, the right of self-determination has precedence over the sovereignty of the state concerned, in the case in question the Republic of Azerbaijan, which itself has only just broken free from the dissolved USSR by using its right of self-determination.

As a result of expert studies and expert reports as a whole, it can be established that in accordance with current international law, the Armenian ethnic group of Nagorny Karabakh hold the right of self-determination in form of a right to separation from the Republic of Azerbaijan (right of secession), which takes priority over the Republic of Azerbaijan’s right of sovereignty. By virtue of the right of self-determination, the Armenian ethnic group of Nagorny Karabakh is entitled either to form a State of its own or to unite with the Republic of Armenia, provided the latter so wiches.

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