Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of 'media campaign' at UN top court

Azerbaijan and Armenia again crossed swords before the U.N.'s top court on Monday, with Baku accusing Yerevan of using the high profile hearings to wage a "public media campaign" against its bitter Caucasus rival.

The latest legal clash over "ethnic cleansing" comes as military tensions are again ramping up between the neighbours following the conflict in the disputed mountainous area of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Robed lawyers and representatives from the two countries embarked on two weeks of hearings, wrestling over interpretations of international law in the gilded Peace Palace of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Azerbaijan's representative Elnur Mammadov told judges Armenia's lawsuit was "premature" and urged the court to throw out the case.

"That is because Armenia failed to engage in negotiations with Azerbaijan in an attempt to settle" the dispute, he said.

There were "limited negotiations" but Yerevan "failed to pursue them," Mammadov said.

"From the outset Armenia had it sights firmly set on commencing these proceedings before the court... and using the fact of these proceedings to wage a public media campaign against Azerbaijan," Mammadov said.

 Tit-for-tat lawsuits 

The legal battle before the ICJ dates from September 2021 when each side filed tit-for-tat suits against each other within a week.

They accused each other of "ethnic cleansing" and of violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

The ICJ, which rules in disputes between states, issued emergency orders in December 2021, calling on both parties to prevent incitement and promotion of racial hatred.

But while the ICJ's orders are binding,...

Continue reading on: