Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

On inadmissibility of withdrawing inter-State applications of Armenia v Azerbaijan

March 19, 2024

Joint | Announcements

During the press conference convened on 12 March 2024, the Republic of Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was asked whether the RA agenda comprises the point of withdrawing applications against Azerbaijan in international instances and answered, “That question was and is being discussed during negotiations. We have the following position: that is a question that can be discussed at the very end, when, in essence,  the peace treaty provisions are agreed upon and when it is obvious that both parties are ready to sign. And it is logical, since both parties sign an agreement, so why would they continue legal wars against one another? But if they do not conclude a peace treaty, for the Republic of Armenia it [applications against Azerbaijan] is a factor also important to promote our agenda and what we want to say”. Recently, President of the RA National Assembly Alen Simonyan also noted the possibility of withdrawing applications against Azerbaijan. 


Positions expressed by the RA legislative and executive bodies are extremely worrisome and unacceptable. The undersigned non-governmental organizations demand from the Government of the Republic of Armenia not to withdraw interstate court applications against Azerbaijan in any condition and circumstances either in the European Court of Human Rights or the UN International Court of Justice. 


This demand stems from the following justifications:

  • Protection of the rights claimed by lawsuits cannot, in any way, be subordinated to or replaced  by political processes and political documents adopted as a result,
  • Decisions issued by court instances, in comparison with political documents, have an execution mechanism, which will give a real opportunity to achieve restoration of violated rights,
  • Withdrawing lawsuits is beneficial to the Republic of Azerbaijan, since it will allow Azerbaijan to avoid responsibility for gross violations of human rights,
  • Peace cannot be stable and long-term if there is no planned attempt at restoring justice, which aims to not only restore a violated right, but also prevent further possible  similar violations,
  • Withdrawing interstate applications from the ECHR will deprive victims of the effective remedy, since the terms for individual applications have expired, as victims did not exercise their right, expecting to be protected through an interstate application,
  • The Republic of Armenia has undertaken a clear obligation to ensure, for everyone under its jurisdiction, rights and freedoms enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to an effective remedy.


Applications filed by the Republic of Armenia against Azerbaijan both in the International Court of Justice and the ECHR concern exclusively gross violations of human rights of hundreds of thousands individuals, and all of them have the motive of hatred as a state-sponsored policy in Azerbaijan. Armenopobia is a state policy in Azerbaijan, and crimes against Armenians and violations of their rights are encouraged at the highest state level by guaranteeing impunity of criminals. There are numerous substantiations and evidence of the policy of Armenophobia in Azerbaijan confirmed both by ECHR judgments and UN and CoE human rights bodies and international human rights organizations.



There has been no retreat in Azerbaijan’s policy of Armenophobia. That policy has been reflected, among other things, in forced depopulation of Artsakh, the ongoing degeneration and destruction of Armenian cultural heritage, destruction of Armenian graves and property, with the view to eliminating the Armenian trace in Azerbaijan. Moreover, Azerbaijan’s policy of Armenophobia has been supplemented by development and promotion of the policy based on fabricated discourse of “Western Azerbaijan”, which is an overt direct threat against territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia.   



Applications filed with courts to protect human rights cannot, in any case, be qualified as territorial demands to any country. They are aimed exclusively at protection of human rights, and filing these applications in the current context is not only a right, but also an obligation. Mass systemic violations of human rights cannot be considered an internal issue of the state, and using legal mechanisms to hold accountable for human rights violations cannot be qualified, in any way, as encroachment on the territorial integrity of the state or interference in internal affairs. 


States have an obligation to protect, and the Republic of Armenia has a priority obligation to protect rights of everyone under its jurisdiction against mass and systemic violations. All the filed applications are implementation of this obligation of the RA, and withdrawing them is not only a setback in terms of human rights protection, but also a refusal of undertaken commitments and obligations. Furthermore, this decision of the Republic of Armenia will result in impunity for war crimes, which is also a direct violation of its international obligations, including violation of and refusal to implement obligations specified in the statute of the International Criminal Court ratified by Armenia.



The filed applications concern, inter alia, forced displacement of Artsakh residents, intentional murders and forced disappearance of prisoners of war and civilians, torture and other cruel and degrading treatment or punishment, gross violations of the right to a fair trial, violations of the right to property, the right to respect for private and family life, and other fundamental human rights. In case of withdrawing those applications, individuals (for whom these applications were filed to protect their rights) will be deprived of any effective remedy due to the Republic of Armenia, since these court instances are the only effective remedy against Azerbaijan. The ECHR has already recorded in a number of judgments that an Armenian national or a citizen of the Republic of Armenia does not have access to any remedy in Azerbaijan to protect their violated rights. 



Under no circumstances can human rights protection become an object of political bargaining. Azerbaijan has not done and is not doing any activity to recognize the fact of violation of human rights, investigate them and hold perpetrators liable, provide compensation for human rights violations, assure and guarantee elimination of such violations and crimes in the future. Moreover, publicly discussed principles of the peace treaty do not comprise any hint of a mechanism or guarantee that Azerbaijan is undertaking responsibility for those violations and commitment to change their policy, which was also highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence after their visit to Armenia. 


Moreover, it is also a message to us, citizens of the Republic of Armenia, not to expect that the Republic of Armenia will protect and take steps against Azerbaijan in case of any human rights violations in the future, which also gives a clear message to Azerbaijan. Withdrawing interstate applications against Azerbaijan will lead to total impunity of Azerbaijan for human rights violations and crimes committed by Azerbaijan, as well as new violations and crimes.



Withdrawing interstate applications will undermine human rights activity in international instances, since the Government’s conduct will be perceived as dropping rights and demands by promoting confirmation of Azerbaijani narratives. 



Taking into account the aforementioned circumstances, the undersigned non-governmental organizations demand from the Government of the Republic of Armenia

  • not to withdraw, under any circumstances, the applications filed against Azerbaijan in the ECHR and the UN International Court of Justice,
  • to continue to use the necessary resources and take proper efforts aimed at lodging and protecting court applications.
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