The leadership of Armenia – the Prime Minister, the President, the Speaker of the Parliament – say one after the other that the state bodies of Artsakh should not continue their work in Armenia, because there is a legitimate government in Armenia. And the rights of the people of Artsakh are allegedly fully protected by the government of Armenia.

However, the approaches of the Armenian leadership regarding the political and legal status of the people of Artsakh not only do not differ from Baku’s position, but also “exceed” it in many ways. The leadership of Armenia officially applies to international courts with claims, which are meant to confirm Baku’s jurisdiction not only over the territories of Artsakh, but also over the people of Artsakh.

The UN International Court of Justice adopted an interim decision on such a claim on November 17, and within 8 weeks after that, Azerbaijan must submit a report on the implementation of the interim measures of Armenia’s claim. Let’s remind that the court obliged Baku to ensure the return of the Artsakh citizens who left their homeland after September 19 to their homes “safely, unhindered and quickly”. Additionally, the court ordered Azerbaijan to “protect” all personal and/or private property registration documents and “give due consideration to such documents and records in its administrative and legislative practice.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan immediately welcomed the decision of the court. What measures will Baku take to comply with the court’s decision?

“Apartments, cultural monuments in Karabakh are guarded by special forces. The houses are sealed, no one enters,” said Farid Shafiev, chairman of the board of the Baku Center for the Analysis of International Relations.

“I think, as the government of Azerbaijan has already announced, everyone who wants to return will be given time. In other words, those who want to return for good will return, or, if someone wants to come and take his/her things, then most likely will be given such an opportunity. In other words, Azerbaijan will comply with the court’s decision, the Foreign Ministry has already issued a statement on this issue,” he said.

In other words, at some point, the Berdzor [Lachin] corridor may be opened, so that the people of Artsakh either return and accept Azerbaijani citizenship, or take their belongings, leaving their houses, lands, and property at the discretion of Baku.

“Property” imperceptibly turns into “personal belongings”, and the citizens of Artsakh returning with refrigerators will have to sign a document on the Hakari bridge that they no longer have a claim to ownership of Baku.

Thus, the real estate, land, communications, industrial assets, which are the personal or collective property of the people of Artsakh, will remain with Azerbaijan. Right now, even Baku does not touch them.

If the people of Artsakh do not return and re-register their property within a “reasonable time”, then Baku can nationalize it (as Turkey did in 1923, after the Armenian Genocide), or even transfer it to others. It is unlikely that the RA authorities will appeal.

Naira Hayrumyan

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