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

It is true to say that all the existent nations of the world have tried to exercise their right of self-determination. Nothing can oppose separations and moves toward independence. All the national liberation movements have the principle in their base.4 The Conventions of the Protection of Minorities after the First World War were forms of the realization of the national right of self-determination in a compromising balance with the principle of state sovereignity. Whilst the statutes of the league of Nations had remained silent about the right of self-determination, Article 1, Paragraph 2 of the charter of the United Nations recognized the “equal rights and self-determination of peoples as a fundamental principle”. Since the late fifties the process of decolonization has, on a practical level, shown quite fundamentally that the formulation was right. The December 16, 1966 decision of the United Nations (Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) had the following wording;

“All people have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”.

The principle was further developed in the Declaration of the United Natious General Assembly on “Principles of International law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations” of October 24, 1970.5

“By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshined in the Charter of United Nations, all peoples have the right freely to determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the charter. The establishment of a sovereign and independent State, the free association or integnation with an independent State or the emergence into any other political status freely determined, by a people constitute modes of implementing the right of self-determination by that people”.

After this legal declaration it seems that the statement of “Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan” sounds as a colonialist slogan. Azerbaijan refuses the demand of the Karabakh community on false grounding, declaring in the letter of the members of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, addressed to the USSR deputies, that;

“…It is important to mention that the encroachment of the Armenian SSR on the territory of Mountanous Karabakh has no legal historical, political, economical or any other basis (the “ethnical” and “cultural” terms are not mentioned deliberately) . Their demand is mainly based on historical falsification. Mountainous Karabakh is declared a “pure Armenian land”, when numerous official documents of the Russian Empire, historiographical researches, Armenian ones included, testify that the Armenians settled in the region after the 19th century Russo-Iranian and Russo-Turkish wars, when because of considerations of “Christian mercy” the Tsarist government decided to settle them in the Transcaucasian region. Sheltering the Armenian refugees in Azerbaijani territories, the Azerbaijani nation was never concerned about the increase in the number of the “guests”. Inhumane methods were not applied to hinder that growth. We couldn’t expect the ungrateful guests to intend to seize our land”.6

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