On the Principles of Self-Determination and so-called ‘Territorial Integrity’ in Public International Law

The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh

“We are not going to negotiate over the right to self determination of the people of Artsakh (Karabakh)”
– Serzh Sarkisian, President of the Republic of Armenia June 1, 2010

“It is for the people to determine the destiny of the territory and not the territory the destiny of the people.”
Judge Hardy Dillard, International Court of Justice, Oct. 16, 1975

BY ARA PAPIAN

The notions of “self-determination” and “territorial integrity” are often used with regard to the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. Unfortunately, these legal terms are largely misused mostly due to political motives. One of the grave misinterpretations of the said notions was by ambassador-to-be (or not to be) Matthew Bryza when he declared: “There’s a legal principle of territorial integrity of states, there’s a political principle of self-determination of peoples.” As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite. There is a legal principle of self-determination and there is no such principle of territorial integrity. Article 2(4) of the UN Charter declares merely that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Thus, this has nothing to do with absolute territorial integrity (i.e., the preservation of the territory of a state) but, according to an authoritative interpretation of the U.S. Foreign Relations Law, is simply the rule against intervention, a “prohibition of use of force,”[1] and calls to refrain from “the use of force by one state to conquer another state or overthrow its government.”[2]

In order to have an adequate understanding of the status, scope, and content of the principles of self-determination and so-called “territorial integrity” in contemporary international law, we need to elaborate more on the issue.

Self-determination: Historical background

Self-determination is an ancient political right that is cherished by every people. The word “self-determination” is derived from the German word “selbstbestimmungsrecht and was frequently used by German radical philosophers in the middle of the 19th century. The political origins of the concept of self-determination can be traced back to the American Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776. The American Revolution is considered to be “an outstanding example of the principle of self-determination.”[3] The principle was further shaped by the leaders of the French Revolution. During the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the principle of self-determination was interpreted by nationalist movements as meaning that each nation had the right to constitute an independent state and that only nationally-homogeneous states were legitimate.[4] During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson championed the principle of self-determination as it became crystallized in Wilson’s Fourteen Points (January 8, 1918), and consequently was discussed in the early days of the League on Nations. The mandate system was to some degree a compromise between outright colonialism and principles of self-determination.

While discussion of the political right and principle of self-determination has a long history, the process of establishing it as a principle of international law is of more recent origin. Since the codification of international law is today mostly achieved through an international convention drawn up in a diplomatic conference or, occasionally, in the UN General Assembly or similar forum on the basis of a draft with commentary prepared by the International Law Commission or some other expert body,[5] we must follow the development of the discussed notions through international instruments. It must be stressed that if the rules, incorporated in the form of articles in the conventions, reflect existing customary international law, they are binding on states regardless of their participation in the conventions.[6]

Self-determination: Development under aegis of UN

1. Incorporation into the UN Charter

The principle of self-determination was invoked on many occasions during World War II. It was proclaimed in the Atlantic Charter (Aug. 14, 1941). The provisions of the Atlantic Charter were restated in the Washington Declaration of 1942, in the Moscow Declaration of 1943, and in other important instruments of the time. Owing to these declarations already at the days of establishment of the UN, the notion of self-determinations was seen as a principle of international law.

Ultimately, “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” was incorporated into the UN Charter. The Charter [Article 1(2)] clearly enunciated the principle of self-determination: “The purposes of the United Nations are: To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determinations of peoples,” and self-determination was conceived as one among several possible “measures to strengthen universal peace.”[7] Chapter IX (International Economic and Social Cooperation, Article 55) lists several goals the organization should promote: “With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people.” Under Article 56, “all Members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in cooperation with the Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.”

The principle of self-determination, as it follows from Article 55 of the UN Charter, is one of the fundamentals of peaceful and friendly international relations. In other words, there can be no such relations without the observance of this principle. The same article says it is the duty of the United Nations to promote respect for fundamental human rights (para. c) and, consequently, for nations’ right to self-determination. And since the establishment of friendly relations between peoples and the promotion of respect for human rights figure among the United Nations’ most important tasks, it is obvious that this organization is entitled to raise the question of a people’s self-determination.[8]

The Charter is dominant over all the other international documents. This provision is set down in Article 103 and is accepted by all the members of the UN. It is clear that the UN considers the self-determination of peoples (self-determination, not just the right of people for self-determination, i.e., the application of this right) as not only one of its basic principles but also as a basis for friendly relations and universal peace. Hence, the rejection of self-determination hinders friendship and universal peace. In addition, Article 24, Point 2 holds: “In discharging these duties [the maintenance of international peace and security] the Security Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations.” This means that, in the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council must be guided by self-determination of peoples because it is one of its principles.

2. Development through UN practice

The concept of self-determination was further developed by the United Nations. Through its resolutions, the United Nations has expounded and developed the principle of self-determination. In Resolution 637A(VII) of Dec. 16, 1952, the General Assembly declared that “the right of peoples and nations to self-determination is a prerequisite to the full enjoyment of all fundamental human rights.” The General Assembly recommended, inter alia, that “the Members States of the United Nations shall uphold the principle of self-determination of all peoples and nations.”

In 1960, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 1514(XV) entitled “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,” which declares that “All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development” (para. 2). The Declaration regards the principle of self-determination as part of the obligations stemming from the Charter; it is not a “recommendation,” but is in the form of an authoritative interpretation of the Charter.[9]

Later on, the principle was incorporated in a number of international instruments. In 1966, two conventions on human rights entered into force—the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The Covenants have a common Article 1, which states: “All peoples 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.”

Consequently, the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among the States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (General Assembly Resolution 2625 (XXV), 1970) confirmed the principle that self-determination is a right belonging to all peoples and that its implementation is required by the UN Charter: “By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Charter of the 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.”

M. Zahovic, rapporteur for the Special Committee on Principles of International Relations concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among the Nations, remarked: “Nearly all representatives who participated in the debate emphasized that the principle was no longer to be considered a mere moral or political postulate; it was rather settled principle of modern international law. Full recognition of the principle was a prerequisite for the maintenance of international peace and security, the development of friendly relations and cooperation among the States, and the promotion of economic, social, and cultural progress throughout the world.”[10]

Self-determination: The principle and human rights

The principle of self-determination developed from a philosophical to political concept in international relations and has now matured into a fundamental principle of positive international law. It has developed recently as an aspect of human rights belonging to the group rather than to the individual[11] and therefore rightly belongs to both Covenants of Human Rights, as it was mentioned.

On June 25, 1993, representatives of 171 states adopted by consensus the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights (June 14-25, 1993). The final document agreed to in Vienna, which was endorsed by the 48th session of the General Assembly (Resolution 48/121, 1993), reaffirms the principles that have evolved during the past 45 years and further strengthens the foundation for additional progress in the area of human rights. The document recognizes interdependence between democracy, development, and human rights, including the right to self-determination. The final document emphasizes that the Conference considers the denial of the right of self-determination as a violation of human rights and underlines the importance of the effective realization of this right[12] (para. 2): “The World Conference on Human Rights considers the denial of the right of self-determination as a violation of human rights and underlines the importance of the effective realization of this right.”[13] Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and co-sponsors of the OSCE Minsk group (Russian Federation, United States of America, France) are parties to this convention.

International organizations that are concerned with human rights and world peace have given full recognition to the fact that respect for self-determination is a condition for world peace. Fundamental human rights are meaningful in the context of a people enjoying self-determination.[14]

The raison d’être for the principle of self-determination is the enjoyment by all peoples, regardless of race, religion, or sex, of full democratic rights within the law, free from internal or external domination. It seeks to provide the opportunities for the political, economic, social, and cultural development of all peoples. The basic objective of the principle is to guarantee that all peoples have a government to their choice that responds to their political, economic, and cultural needs.[15] Thus, denial of the right to self-determination is a human rights violation and constitutes a breach of international law.

Self-determination: Development of principle through other organizations

The International Commission of Jurists (affiliated to the International Court of Justice) has held numerous conferences on the rule of law attempting to provide a clear and comprehensive definition of rule of law and better measures of implementation in the context of protecting human rights. Its first congress was held in Athens in 1955, where the participants gave effect to the Act of Athens, which resolved: “ (9) The recognition of the right to self-determination being one of the great achievements of our era and one of the fundamental principles of international law, its non-application is emphatically condemned. (10) Justice demands that a people or an ethnic or political minority be not deprived of their natural rights and especially of the fundamental rights of man and citizens or of equal treatment for reasons of race, color, class, political conviction, caste or creed.”[16]

The First World Conference of Lawyers on World Peace through Law, in their Declaration of General Principles for a World Rule of Law (Athens, July 6, 1963), adopted a resolution that stated: “In order to establish an effective international legal system under the rule of law which precludes resort to force, we declare that: (…) (6) A fundamental principle of the international rule of law is that of the right of self-determination of the peoples of the world, as proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations.”[17]

Self-determination: Development of principle through ICJ

The principle of self-determination is exemplified in the decisions by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). For example, in the South-West Africa Cases (Dec. 26, 1961, and July 18, 1966), Judge Nervo, dissenting, expressed the belief that the concept of equality and freedom “will inspire the vision and the conduct of peoples the world over until the goal of self-determination and independence is reached.”[18]

The Advisory Opinion of the International Court relating to the Western Sahara Case (Oct. 16, 1975) reconfirmed as well “the validity of the principle of self-determination” in the context of international law.[19]

Also in the decision of June 30, 1995, concerning the East Timor Case (Portugal v. Australia), the International Court reaffirmed that the principle of self-determination of peoples is recognized by the UN Charter and by its own jurisprudence as being “one of the essential principles of contemporary international law” (para. 29).[20]

Self-determination: Status, scope, and content in contemporary international law

Both the United Nations and the majority of authors are alike in maintaining that the principle of self-determination is part of modern international law. Due to developments in the United Nations since 1945, jurists now generally admit that self-determination is a legal principle.[21] The principle has been confirmed, developed, and given more tangible form by a consistent body of state practice and has been embodied among “the basic principles of international law” in the Friendly Relations Resolutions.[22] The generality and political aspect of the principle do not deprive it of legal content.[23] Furthermore, having no doubts that the principle of the self-determination of peoples is a legal principle, currently many declare self-determination to be a jus cogens (peremptory) norm of international law.[24] Accordingly, no derogation is admissible from the principle of self-determination by means of a treaty or any similar international transaction.[25]

It must be underlined that the right of self-determination is the right to choose a form of political organization and relations with other groups. The choice may be independence as a state, association with other groups in a federal state, or autonomy or assimilation in a unitary (non-federal) state.[26] A situation involving the international legal principle of self-determination cannot be excluded from the jurisdiction of the United Nations by a claim of domestic jurisdiction. International customary law is binding on all states regardless of consent; and in any event, states have bound themselves under the Charter to respect the principle.[27] The claims of the states that the implementation of the principle of self-determination infringes on their rights or is contrary to their “constitutional processes” cannot be made a pretext for depriving other peoples of their right to self-determination.[28] Presently self-determination as a principle is truly universal in scope.[29] It is also unconditional because most of the UN members also hold that realization of the right to self-determination should not have any strings attached to it.[30]

All these conceptions were summarized in the statement by Hans Brunhart, head of government and minister of foreign affairs of the Principality of Liechtenstein, during the 47th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (Sept. 23, 1992, UN Doc. A/47/PV.9) (para. 6): “The right to self-determination as principle is now universally accepted. I would recall not only that self-determination is one of the foundations of the Charter, but also that most States represented in this Assembly are already under certain specific legal obligations in this area by virtue of Article 1 of each of the great human rights conventions of 1966” (i.e., the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). There it is formally and with legally binding effect acknowledged that: “All peoples 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.”[31]

Despite all this, and with some notable exceptions, the practical and peaceful application of the principle of self-determination has often been lacking. Time and again dominant powers have hindered oppressed peoples from availing themselves of their right to self-determination despite the obligations assumed in signing the UN Charter. So how is one to establish that a people want to be the master of its own destiny?

There are different ways of establishing the will of a people demanding self-determination. The will of the people may be determined by a plebiscite. A plebiscite or, what amounts to the same thing, a referendum, means the right of the majority of the population to determine the political and legal status of the territory it inhabits.[32] The will of people may be expressed by parliament or by any other representative institutions elected by the self-determining people.[33]

By and large there are plebiscites without a popular vote on the questions concerned. In such cases, the population of the self-determining territory elects a representative organ that then expresses the people’s will. If the elections to these organs and the vote in them are conducted on a democratic basis, this method of expressing the people’s will is quite legitimate.[34] This is the situation that we had lately (May 23, 2010) in Nagorno-Karabagh during the elections of the parliament of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh).

The will of the people may also be expressed in the form of mass protests (civil disobedience, demonstrations, rallies, newspaper articles, etc.). Lastly, it may find expression in armed uprisings or wars for national liberation. The latter is an extreme measure and people resort to it only if forced to do so. A rule of customary international law has emerged, according to which the principle of self-determination includes a right of secession and, as a consequence, the legality of wars of national liberation and third-party interventions on behalf of secessionist movements.[35] The use of force to achieve self-determination and for the assistance of national liberation movements has increasingly been claimed as legitimate in recent years, on the ground that it furthers the principles of the UN Charter.[36]

There is no rule of international law forbidding revolutions within a state, and the United Nation’s Charter favors the self-determination of peoples. Self-determination may take the forms of rebellion to oust an unpopular government, of colonial revolt, of an irredentist movement to transfer territory, or of a movement for the unification or federation of independent states.[37] It should be especially stressed that whatever way is chosen, no “central authority” or any other people can solve the problem for the self-determining people, for that would be contrary to the very principle of self-determination.[38]

While establishing the scope of self-determination, a question must be answered: Are the peoples and nations that have already implemented their right to self-determination subjects of this right? The answer is “Yes,” inasmuch as the UN Charter recognizes the right to self-determination of all peoples and nations, without distinguishing between those that have attained statehood and those that have not. The question is answered analogically in the General Assembly resolution on the inclusion of the clause on human rights in the International Covenant on Human Rights.[39] It has been strongly advocated that a nation which has been divided into states by outside interference and without the clear consent of the population still possess the inherent right of self-determination including the right of reunification.[40]

Furthermore, infringement of the right to self-determination has been used by the European Community (EC) as a potential ground for withholding recognition of an entity as a state and hence to deny the legitimacy of a government or a state that does not protect the right of self-determination. In the EC Declaration on the Guidelines on the Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union (Dec. 16, 1991), there is the requirement that a potential new state has constitutional guarantees of democracy and of “the rights of ethnic and national groups and minorities” before recognition by the EC states is granted. Moreover, a new rule of international law holds that a state established in violation of the right of self-determination is a nullity in international law.[41]

Another question that concerns the self-determination of peoples is: Can the right of self-determination be applied to non-colonial entities? Certainly the main objective of the right of self-determination was to bring a speedy end to colonialism. However, since codification of that principle in the UN Charter, not one of the major international instruments that have dealt with the right of self-determination have limited the application of the right to colonial situations. For example, the common Article 1 of the two International Human Rights Conventions of 1966 (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights) applies the right to “all peoples” without any restriction as to their status, and the obligation rests on all states. Likewise, principle VIII of the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference 1975 includes: “by virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, all peoples have the right, in full freedom, to determine, when and as they wish, their internal and external political status, without external interference, and to pursue as they wish their political, economic, social, and cultural development.” State practice also supports a broader application of the right of self-determination beyond strictly colonial confines. Indeed, the International Commission of Jurists, in its report on Bangladesh’s secession, stated that “if one of the constituent peoples of a state is denied equal rights and is discriminated against, it is submitted that their full right of self-determination will revive.”[42] In the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (Sept. 12, 1990), which was signed by four of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, it was expressly mentioned that the “German people, freely exercising their right of self-determination, have expressed their will to bring about the unity of Germany as a State” (Preamble, para. 11), despite the fact that neither East nor West Germany was a colony. It has also been applied by states in the context of the breakup of the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia.[43]

Territorial integrity: Evaluation and content

The notion of territorial integrity has been employed only three times in international instruments. All other cases are only references to these said documents.

The concepts of territorial integrity and political independence emerged during the years immediately following the end of World War I. Article 10 of the Covenant of the League of Nations stipulated that: “the Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League.”[44] The same understanding of territorial integrity was reaffirmed in the UN Charter: “2(4). All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” The other important international instrument often referred to is the Helsinki Final Act (adopted on Aug. 1, 1975), and requires the following: “The participating States will refrain in their mutual relations, as well as in their international relations in general, from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State …”

It is obvious that the Helsinki Final Act, like the UN Charter and League of Nations Covenant earlier, condemns merely the use of force against territorial integrity and does not unconditionally advocate for the absolute maintenance of territorial integrity. It makes clear that use of external force or threat of use against territorial integrity and political independence is unacceptable. Meanwhile, the Helsinki Final Act (Chapter 1) specifically holds that “frontiers can be changed, in accordance with international law, by peaceful means and by agreement.”

It is apparent that ever since the first time the notion of territorial integrity appeared within the domain of international law, it has been closely intertwined with the question of the use of external force. In other words, the principle of territorial integrity is traditionally interwoven with the fundamental principle of the prohibition of the threat or use of force[45] and not with the absolute preservation of the territory of a state intact. As it was mentioned above, it is just the “prohibition of use of [external] force”[46] and the renunciation of “the use of force by one state to conquer another state or overthrow its government.”[47]

Territorial integrity: Scope, limitation, and status under international law

In modern political life there are repeated wrongful attempts to present territorial integrity as a general limitation on the right to self-determination. The basis for such limitation is false because the government of a state that does not represent the whole population on its territory without discrimination cannot succeed in limiting the right of self-determination on the basis that it would infringe that state’s territorial integrity.[48]

Moreover, state practice shows that territorial integrity limitations on the right of self-determination are often ignored, as seen in the recognition of the independence of Bangladesh (from Pakistan), Singapore (from Malaysia), and Belize (“despite the claims of Guatemala”).[49] In addition, after the recognition by the international community of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, recognition of East Timor and Eritrea, and recognition to a certain extent of Kosovo, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia, it could now be the case that any government that is oppressive to peoples within its territory may no longer be able to rely on the general interest of territorial integrity as a limitation on the right of self-determination.

There is therefore a clear-cut understanding: Only a government of a state that allows all of its peoples to freely decide their political status and economic, social, and cultural development has an interest of territorial integrity that can possibly—only possibly—limit the exercise of a right of self-determination. So territorial integrity, as a limitation on the exercise of the right of self-determination, can apply only to those states in which the government represents the whole population in accordance with the exercise of internal self-determination.[50] Thus, there is an apparent conceptual link between democracy and self-determination. Democracy is often viewed as internal self-determination, and secession as external self-determination, that is, as the right of a people to govern itself, rather than be governed by another people.[51]

Moreover, it is clear that those deprived of the right of self-determination can seek forcible international support to uphold their right of self-determination and no state can use force against such groups. As it was referred above, the Declaration on Principles of International Law provides that “every State has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples…of their right of self-determination and freedom and independence.” The increase in actions by the international community, which could be classed as humanitarian intervention—such as in Somalia and with the creation of “safe havens” for the Kurds North of the 36th parallel in Iraq[52] (1991-2003)—indicates the reduced importance given by the international community to the territorial integrity of a state when human rights, including the right of self-determination, are grossly and systematically violated.[53] The right of self-determination applies to all situations where peoples are subject to oppression by subjugation, domination and exploitation by others. It is applicable to all territories, colonial or not, and to all peoples.[54] Indeed, many of the claims for self-determination arose because of unjust, state-based policies of discrimination, and when the international legal order failed to respond to the legitimate aspirations of peoples.

Self-determination: Human rights and right to secession

One of the supposed dangers of self-determination is that it might encourage secession. First, there is no rule of international law that condemns all secessions under all circumstances. Self-determination includes the right to secede.[55] In a situation when the principle of territorial integrity is clearly incompatible with that of self-determination, the former must, under present international law, give way to the latter.[56] For instance, if a majority or minority insists on committing an international crime, such as genocide, or enforces a wholesale denial of human rights as a deliberate policy against the other part, it is submitted that the oppressed party, minority or majority, may have recourse to the right of self-determination up to the point of secession.[57]

As Azerbaijan used force in answer to the free and peaceful expression (rallies, referendums, claims, appeals) of the will of the people of Nagorno-Karabagh, took inadequate means of punishment, perpetrated massacres of the Armenian citizens of Azerbaijan in Sumgait, Baku, and Kirovabad, and waged a ruthless war with Ukrainian, Afghan, and Russian mercenaries and sustained defeat, it cannot expect that the people of Nagorno-Karabagh will renounce their lawful right and will not exercise their right of self-determination.

Actually, the world community is under legal and moral obligation to recognize the political self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabagh, that is, to recognize the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh. If a de facto state has crystallized, refusal to recognize it may be tantamount to a denial of self-determination. Moreover, there is a clear understanding in international law: After the international requirements for the recognition of belligerency have been fulfilled (as was done with regard to Nagorno-Karabagh by the Bishkek Protocol, May 5, 1994, and by the Ceasefire Agreement, May 12, 1994), a duty of recognition of belligerency necessarily follows, and refusal of recognition is interference with the right of political self-determination of the people of a state, and therefore constitutes illegal intervention.[58] This obligation arises from the understanding that the principle and rules on self-determination are erga omnes, that is, they belong to that class of international legal obligations which are not “bilateral” or reciprocal, but are in favor of all members of the international community.[59]

In the Loizidou v. Turkey Case, a 1996 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, Judge Wildhaber identified an emerging consensus that the right of self-determination, more specifically secession, should be interpreted as remedial for certain human rights abuses: “Until recently in international practice the right to self-determination was in practical terms identical to, and indeed restricted to, a right to decolonization. In recent years a consensus has seemed to emerge that peoples may also exercise a right to self-determination if their human rights are consistently and flagrantly violated or if they are without representation at all or are massively underrepresented in an undemocratic and discriminatory way. If this description is correct then the right to self-determination is a tool which may be used to re-establish international standards of human rights and democracy.”[60] As Wildhaber attests, there is increasing agreement among authors that the right of self-determination provides the remedy of secession to a group whose rights have been consistently and severely abused by the state.[61] The self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabagh must certainly be assessed as an act of corrective justice as well.

So a minority’s entitlement to self-determination can and must be judged within a human rights framework. Self-determination postulates the right of a people organized in an established territory to determine its collective political destiny in a democratic fashion.[62]

It is legal nonsense to presume that self-determination should take place within previous administrative borders, without regard for the cultural, linguistic, or ethnic identity of the people there. Internal boundaries in the former Soviet Union were often drawn in a way that ensured that many members of the titular nation were outside the boundaries of their (titular) republic, as it was with Nagorno-Karabagh.[63] A politically disempowered distinct group in a specific region has the right to independence,[64] regardless of whether or not they are organized in an administrative unit. There is no doubt that the people of Nagorno-Karabagh (not only the people of the Nagorno-Karabagh Autonomous Region) are entitled to independence as their choice of self-determination due to the extreme discrimination that they faced under Azerbaijan.

Summary

—Self-determination is an ancient political right. Presently the right to self-determination is a well-established principle in public international law. The principle has been confirmed, developed, and given more tangible form by a consistent body of state practice and has been embodied in various international instruments.

—The principle of self-determination is exemplified in the decisions by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

—The principle of self-determination is one of the fundamentals of peaceful and friendly international relations. Respect for self-determination is a condition for world peace. Those deprived of the right of self-determination can seek forcible international support to uphold their right of self-determination.

—Self-determination as a principle of international law is universal in scope. The right of self-determination applies to all situations where peoples are subject to oppression by subjugation, domination, and exploitation by others—all peoples and nations, without distinguishing between those that have attained statehood and those that have not.

—The principle of the self-determination of peoples is a legal principle and is a jus cogens (peremptory) norm of international law.

The right of self-determination is the right to choose a form of political organization and relations with other groups. Denial of the right of to self-determination is a human rights violation and constitutes a breach of international law.

—The right of peoples and nations to self-determination is a prerequisite to the full enjoyment of all fundamental human rights. The General Assembly recommended that the member states of the United Nations uphold the principle of self-determination of all peoples and nations.

—Article 2(4) of the UN Charter has nothing to do with absolute “territorial integrity” but is simply the rule against intervention, a “prohibition of use of force,” and purely calls to refrain from “the use of force by one state to conquer another state or overthrow its government.”

—Self-determination includes the right to secede. The people of Nagorno-Karabagh (not only the people of the Nagorno-Karabagh Autonomous Region) are entitled to independence as their choice of self-determination.

—Self-determination postulates the right of a people organized in an established territory to determine its collective political destiny in a democratic fashion.

Ara Papian is head of the Modus Vivendi Center.


[1] Restatement of the Law (Third), the Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the American Law Institute, Washington, 1987, v. 2, 905(7), p. 389.

[2] Ibid., p. 383.

[3] O. U. Umozurike, Self-Determination in International Law, Connecticut, 1972, p. 8.

[4] D. Thurer, Self-Determination, in R. Bernhardt (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Public International Law, vol. iv, Amsterdam, 2000, p. 364.

[5] Sh. Rosenne, Codification of International Law, in R. Bernhardt (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Public International Law, vol. i., Amsterdam, 1992, p. 633.

[6] Ibid.

[7] D. Thurer, op. cit., p. 365.

[8] G. Starushenko, The Principle of Self-determination in Soviet Foreign Policy, Moscow, 1963, p. 221.

[9] Recueil des cours de l’Academie de droit international, The Hague, 1962, II, p. 33. Annual Report of the Secretary-General, 1960, 2. Chief Judge Moreno Quintana, International Court of Justice Reports, 1960, pp. 95-96.

[10] O.U., Umozurike, op. cit., p. 192.

[11] Ibid., p. 271.

[12] T. Hillier, Sourcebook on Public International Law, London-Sydney, 1998, p. 192.

[13] Documents, UN General Assembly, A/CONF.157/23; 12 July 1993.

[14] O.U., Umozurike, op. cit., p. 188.

[15] Ibid., p. 273.

[16] Ibid., p. 185.

[17] Declaration of General Principles for a World Rule of Law, American Journal of International Law, 58, (1964) pp. 138-151, at 143.

[18] International Court of Justice, Reports, 1966, v. IV, p. 465.

[19] ICJ Reports (1975) 12 at 31-33. See also the Namibia Opinion, ibid. (1971), 16 at 31; Geog K. v. Ministry of Interior, ILR 71, at 284; and the Case Concerning East Timor, ICJ Reports (1995) at 102.

[20] D. Thurer, op. cit., p. 370.

[21] I. Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law, Oxford, 1998 (5th ed.), p. 600.

[22] D. Thurer, op. cit., p. 366.

[23] I. Brownlie, op. cit., p. 600.

[24] T. Hillier, op. cit., p. 191. Supporters of the view that the right of self-determination is part of jus cogens include: I. Brownlie, op. cit., (4th ed.), Oxford, 1991, p. 513. A. Cassese, International Law in a Divided World, Oxford, 1989, p. 136; J. Craword, “The Rights of Peoples: Some Conclusions”, in J. Crawford, (ed.), The Rights of Peoples, Oxford, 1988, pp. 159-175, at p. 166; H. Gros Espiell, The Right to Self-Determination, Implementation of United Nations Resolutions (1978), para. 85; and the UK’s and Argentina’s statements in the context of the Falklands/Malvinas dispute (1982) 53 British Yearbook of International Law, pp. 366-379.

[25] A. Cassese, Self-determination of Peoples, Cambridge, 1995, p. 134-35.

[26] I. Brownlie, op. cit., p. 599.

[27] O. U. Umozurike, op. cit., p. 196.

[28] G. Starushenko, op. cit., p. 209.

[29] D. Thurer, op. cit., p. 369.

[30] G. Starushenko, op. cit., p. 210.

[31] Self-Determination and Self-Administration, A Sourcebook, (ed. W. Danspeckgruber and A. Watts), London, 1997, Appendix 2, The Liechtenstein Initiative at the UN, p. 405.

[32] G. Starushenko, op. cit., p. 214.

[33] Ibid., p. 213.

[34] Ibid., p. 215-6.

[35] D. Thurer, op. cit., p. 368.

[36] T. Hillier, op. cit., p. 612.

[37] Self-Determination, Digest of International Law (ed. M. Whiteman), Washington, 1974, v. 5, 4, p. 39.

[38] G. Starushenko, op. cit., p. 214.

[39] Resolution 545 (VI) of Feb. 5, 1952.

[40] D. Thurer, op. cit., p. 368.

[41] Ibid., p. 369.

[42] The Secretariat of the International Commission of Jurists, Report on “Events in East Pakistan, (1971),” Geneva, p. 69.

[43] R. McCorquodale, Self-Determination: Human Rights Approach, the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, vol. 43, #4 (Oct. 1994), p. 861.

[44] Ch. Rozakis, Territorial Integrity and Political Independence, in R. Bernhardt (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Public International Law, v. IV, Amsterdam, 2000, p. 813.

[45] Ibid., pp. 812-13.

[46] Restatement of the Law (Third), op. cit., p. 389.

[47] Ibid., p. 383.

[48] R. McCorquodale, op. cit., p. 880.

[49] J.Maguie, “The Decolonization of Belize: Self-Determination v. Territorial Integrity” (1982) 22 Virginia Journal of International Law, p. 849.

[50] R. McCorquodale, op. cit., p. 880.

[51] M. Moore, National Self-Determination, Oxford, 1998, p. 10.

[52] Security Council Resolution 688 (April 5 1991).

[53] R. McCorquodale, op. cit., p. 882.

[54] Ibid., p. 883.

[55] M. Moore, op. cit., p. 23.

[56] O.U. Umozurike, op. cit., p. 187.

[57] Ibid., p. 199.

[58] A.V.W. Thomas and A.J. Thomas, Non-Intervention: The Law and its Import in the Americas, Dallas, 1956, p. 220.

[59] A. Cassese, op. cit., p. 134.

[60] Loizidou v. Turkey (Merits), European Court of Human Rights, 18 December, 1996, (1997) 18 Human Rights Law Journal 50 at p. 59.

[61] K. Knop, Diversity and Self-Determination in International Law, Cambridge, 2002, p. 74.

[62] Ibid., p. 85.

[63] M. Moore, op. cit., p. 140.

[64] T.M. Frank, The Power of Legitimacy among the Nations, New York, 1990, p. 171.

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43 Comments

  1. Steve said:

    Once again Ambassador Papian provides us with his invaluable expalantion that distinguishes the international legal principle of self determination from the often misinterpreted and misunderstood concept of territorial integrity. A key to understanding the concept of territorial integrity is that it is derived from the notion of “inviolability of borders”. For borders to be inviolable they must first be valid borders that are obtained and maintained under the rubric of accepted and recognized international law.

    Alas with regard to Azerbaijan and for that matter the Republic of Turkey none of their frontiers with Armenia enjoy that luxury .

  2. AxPx said:

    How sad that the Karabagh Movement started off as a unity (with Armenia) movement, until the Russian pawns came to power there, and eventually, Yerevan.

  3. Nairian said:

    No Steve, Neither Turkey nor AZ have the right to our homeland. Western Armenia, Naxichevan and Artsakh has been ours for thousands of years and they owe it to us. Those lands must be returned one way or the other. Turkey, in form of reparation after the Armenian Genocidce and the fake AZ has never existed 100 years ago.

    • Abbe said:

      I am totally with you. As I said a thousend times before. What is the meaning of the recogniton of the Armenian Genocide if we are not going to get our lands and financial “repair” back ?
      Does it sound logical that they can go and commit a Genocide on 1.5 million Armenian with no reason and get away with a “sorry” ?! Besides… those lands are ours as you said and that a reason more !!

      I see Nakhichevan as a issue number two after Kharabagh ! When Azer has lost Artsakh (for good) The Armenian goal should be Nakhichevan. Then Azer has no contact with Turkey at all.. and thats good 😛

      • Gelat said:

        Well,issue will be Zangazur,Not Nakhchivan.i wouldnt claim victory without knowing what kind of weapons does Azerbaijan has.

  4. eddy said:

    Dear Ara,
    You are right but w e are dealing with a war criminal!

    There is a cease fire in effect and “peace negations” are still ongoing but the criminals in Baku did order the killing of 4 soldiers of NKR defence army. This act is the same as if the enemy would have executed prisoners of war, thereof the killing of four soldiers by the order of Baku is quell to a war crime. Either NKR or RA (on behalf on NKR) should sue Azerbaijani president at the international court for the war crime! Since NKR is a party to the cease fire of 1994 should act. NKR should/could at least make formerly such an apple to the international court!

  5. hovo said:

    One of the universal ingredients in the formulation of the rules that governs civilized world today is the right of self-determination: people have a right to determine for themselves the form of state under which they choose to live. But one scholar noted: According to UN practice, a “people” is any group that August organization wishes to liberate from “colonial and racist regimes” (which Azerbaijan was). Thus, the puerto ricans are a people, but the kurds aren’t, the numibians are a people and have their own state, but the population of East Timor is without Identity and without hope. This observation by Friedlander in the 1980s is no longer completely accurate since East Timor is now a state, but the lack of clairty as who are the people may remain. If there is no the right of self determination, than today many states (Israel, kosovo) legally can not exist. Second, the rights of self-determination supercedes the so called teritorial integrity. If this is not true than it can intentionally jeopardize NKR’s people’s right to life. Right to life is the most important component of the law. If this wasn’t true than Alliyev had already murdered NKR’s people. Finally, our people in Artsakh have a right to protect itself and to provide for its citizens a safe and stable system of goverment. They fought for their freedom, and now they are not in a vacuum. They liberated the homeland of their theological ancestors. There can not be the issue of teritorial integrity, since NKR was, is and will be ours forever, although Stalin or soviet union illegally transferred it to azerbaijan which leaded to ethnicleansing. Our politicians should not only discuss the issue as lawyers, but also as historians. So US ambassador in azerbaijan whether he like it or not Artsakh is ours. As we can see our leader in Germany was with an iron-scoop rather than tkhte one (krimjan hajrik could be happy)…

  6. MAMATIAN said:

    tHIS ARTICLE IS VERY IMPORTANT….EVERY GOVERNMENT SHOULD UNDERSTAND THE RIGHT OF THE ARMENIANS AFTER READING THIS ARTICLE

  7. Nairian said:

    OK guys, we talked about it, we sympathyze and gave and took ideas; but NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!!!!

    MEANING: In California, in Canada and everywhere else we must let the world know and rallye IMMEDIATELY that Aliyev and the azeris have done war crimes and do as much propaganda as possible on behalf of Armenia, Artsakh and our cause. SO GUYS GO AND ORGANIZE AND DO IT AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!

    Nairian

    • Gelat said:

      Are you sure about ”war crimes”? 30,000(mostly civilians) Turks savagely killed by Armenians in NK Karabakh war.UN confirmed

      Daud Kheyriyan, “For the sake of Cross…”, page 62 and 63

      “… Sometimes we happened to march on dead bodies. In order to cross a swamp near Dashbulag, we have paved a road composed of dead bodies. I refused to march on dead bodies. Then colonel Oganyan ordered me not to scare. It is one of military laws. I have pressed my one foot onto the breast of a wounded girl aged 9 or 10 years and marched…

      My legs, my photo camera were in blood…”

  8. Nairian said:

    Oh really Gelat??? Who started the war crimes back in Sumgait and Baku in 1988??? HUH??? It was the “azeri” pogroms backed by the government of Baku who started eating Armenian women, children and innocent civilians alive. They even went to their homes. I saw pictures of a young Armenian woman’s breasts cut out and taken out. Armenian women were being raped then eaten up and burned up alive. So who’s talking to who for their lower than beastly acts in your “azerbaijan”?????

  9. ArGorky said:

    There will be no war. All the hysteria is for paving road for France, US and Russia to force Artsakh to step on the way, which are designed by oil-money-suckers and for the prosperity of countries listed.

    Azeris are cowards, they are not fighters. The June 18th provocation was done by leftover-terrorists of iraq-afghan wars, which are now jobless and are looking for any kind of killing-operation. Same human-trash will be dressed into peacekeeper uniform and send to “protect” human rights. Another part will be given passports and regalia of “refugees” to settle in Artsakh. “Future” mentioned in the statement issued will never come.

    Stop reading documents and answering provocative junk of “Gelat”-s. Think what you can do for Armenia and Artsakh now.

  10. Ararat said:

    ArGorky sounds right. But might be that Artsakh’s indepedence is traded for the Iran’s isolation.

    The activation of the dormant volcano (= “nagorno-karabakh”) started after failed farce, preformed by israel and turkey for convincing iran that turkey is a reliable partner. this failure by turkey proved that other cards must be played if one wants more (or other) war in middle east.
    so, now russia, us and france help
    a) obama to say “no” to erdogan visiting washington for explanations and
    b) hillary in her fire-setting trip to south-caucasus.

  11. Gelat said:

    Nairian
    while you claiming Nakhchivan and Estern Anatolia,please find a solition for those thousands of Armenians who flow Turkey to work and have better life.You are describing Turkey as a fascist country but on the other hand thousands of Hayastani people prefer to live in Turkey rather than Armenia.So it means,living under the fascism is much better than living in Armenia right?And look at,how the situation is bleak in Armenia that,thousands of Armenian mothers come to the “enemy” country to work as housekeepers and sending money back to their families in Armenia.Well,i aprieciate those mothers,at least they are real fighters unlike you guys.Living in LA,Paris,Zurich,Sydnei,Berlin,Moscow and talking with big mouth will never help to the situation in your homeland.
    Turkey and Turks are not your enemies.your real enemies are your grudge inside you that hurts Armenians in Armenia more than Turks in Turkey.

    • Nairian said:

      Listen Gelat sewer mouth deplorable lower than earth dehuman. Nobody blockaded your stolen lands the turkish republic, (stolen from our Western Armenian lands) and our buildings and all our riches; yet your uneducated turks are all over the world; in Germany, all over Europe and in the United States. Why is that????? After stealing our lands, and you have a great deal of lands now that you never deserved it, and yet your people that have all the seas and are certainly NOT blockaded are scattered all over the world. Don’t speak to me about our little blockaded Armenia (thanks to your turkey). Otherwise, our women would never go to your snake pit country. Your turkey under international law now owes our Armenia a great deal of money. Besides, why don’t you turks go back to your Mongolian herds in Asian Mongolia where you came from, then all of us, the remnants of the Armenian Genocide (thanks to your genocidal turkey) will have back our Western Armenian homeland that belongs to the owners us Armenians, and then we don’t have to live abroad. Then we can go to our home WESTERN ARMENIA that belonged to us for thousands and thousands of years.

      Now you Gelat, go to your own websites and throw your lowest than life vermins to them (to your turkish and to your “azeris” sites where you belong).

  12. Ararat said:

    To Gelat:
    For Armenians, turkey and turks are and will remain an enemy.
    Turks and azeris blocked (you definitely have to concept of this applied to Armenian, as I hear from your hatred toward us) Armenia starting from 1993. People starting looking for other places to earn for their families. Turks are very happy to have this large supply of high-skill and low-cost labor, which is also a political-hostage, as you just demonstrated.
    Shame on you and your type: to deplete people from their freedom of choice and then using their state to drive your point! What mother feed you?

    • Nairian said:

      Bravo and to the point dear brother Ararat. First they blockade us (now they owe Armenia a great deal of money for doing it) then they put us and our poor people down. Deplorable sick mentality Gelat the turk and the likes of him. What can you expect from a low life enemy.

    • ArGorky said:

      The worse thing is that these women, unlike the people looking for earning in civilized societies, have been transformed during these years into a “vulnerable social layer” for the Armenian society. It might be easy to manipulate their will not only in favor of Turkey’s ambitions, but in favor of any other side, which offers some minimum basket. Turk remains the turk: completely removing any native sign from the good they grab.
      People like Gelat are the provocateurs and recruiters, fishing in that politically-inert layer. Creators of 5th colonies. Nothing to be proud of.

  13. hovo said:

    She is suffering from post traumatic disorder, you don’t see her propaganda machine, just ignore her, IGNORANCE IS BLESS. Ok, what were we talking about? Yes, the right of self-determination!

    • Nairian said:

      You ignorent dehuman hovo the turk. Go back to your turkish and “azeri” sites, where you and your lower than earth Gelat belongs and leave us in peace. You belong in an asylum you turk, go to get some mental and spritual relief.

  14. Gelat said:

    Nairan,
    You can curse on Turks from sunrise to sunset.As i told you,it doesnt hurt me.Because you live in differnet world where called “dream world”.it will not be surpize if you claim Sydney as your ancient lands,because dream has no limitation.Ohhh maybe one of you guys found Armenian skull in the planet-Venus?Who knows?
    Anyway,this is not the point,you jumped different topic but i will go back and ask you again.:While your immigrants cleanin parking lots of enemy Turks,you cannot claim “western Armenia”,you got it?

    now start again:You Turks are ignornats,murderers,go back to Mongolia,sick mentality,discusting,dehuman,donkey,western armenia…you can count thousnds of nasty words but unfortunately it will not change the situation in Armenia..

    • sebouh from australia said:

      Add Oresbi Cugic sene gurtini sicium( excuse the spelling you dirty Turk but I am sure you get the meaning hahahahaha)

  15. hovo said:

    Nairian jan, of course I am talking about Gelat, just ignore her, ignorance is bless, you don’t see she is here to intimate you and provoke, and so called Gelat, supposedly 21 years old girl from LA. She is suffering post traumatic disorder after the killings. So nairian jan know your enemies, and know your friends, es maqur zulal haj em es gelati masin em khosum, inc tvac te du glxi £nkar…

  16. hovo said:

    Nairian jan es der kardum em qo grat£, funny, cavt tanem, es et shan tuli masin em xosum, gelati, uxaki chuzeca anun£ tam, vor iran lav chzga, iran bani tekh mi dir, inq£ kkorchi…

    • Nairian said:

      I am so so sorry Hovo jan. Chi hasgatsa… too bad… yes al gardsetsi te toun gelati goghme ge pernes gor yev toun al turk es gam azeri… neroghoutyun em xentroum yeghpayr jan… shat shat neroghamid yeghir hayrenagitses. Sorry janes.

  17. hovo said:

    …and for Gelat I will tell this why you are such a son of a bitch I told you last time that don’t fuck with us why are you playing with people’s emotions those people lost everything because of you turks.

  18. hovo said:

    Gelate, a big brother censors my writings, I will try to be nice, listen to me, my fellow armenians are very honest, they fall your trap, but not me. You want me to believe you or to believe my eyes and ears. Genocide did happen, and I will have conversation with you only if you accept the fact or our race murder. I have many turkish “friends”, but they are not like you. When they saw me they told me that they were kurds, but actually they are turks, and they always curse turkey for their atrocities. So whether you like it or not Turkey was, is, and will remain our enemy.

  19. Nairian said:

    Xentrem shat neroghamid yeghir Hovo jan, yes chekidsta te tu Hay es, gardsetsi te gelati neman turk es yev naxadum es ints yev ira hed es yeghum. Ok Hay yeghpayr jan, mi neghvir sexalvelus, OK please.

  20. Gelat said:

    Hovo
    In your previous comment.you said “she is 21 years old girl” and now you are saying “son of beach”,lol keep cursing..although you dont deserve my response but i need to tell you something.
    If you really think that they lost everything,they should at least individually ask for compensation from Rep of Turkey instead of talking with big mouth…Turkish Gov is saying lets excavate entire Eastern Anatolia if we find any mass grave belongs to Armenians we will acknowlege the “genocide”…OMG 2 milliom people killed but details are obscure,where were they killed?how?with knives or guns?where are their remains? i am not asking for 2 million graves,at least find out just 1 massgrave …study holocaus and compare with your bogus genocide.

    • Ararat said:

      Have you attended any school? Do not you see that there is no “discussion” on Armenian Genocide, neither on Armenian territorial claims with cyclic people?

      Who are the cyclic people? who speaks when he eats, eats when he …, …, … when he speaks.

  21. Ararat said:

    The worse thing is that these Armenian women, unlike the people looking for job in civilized societies, have been transformed during these years into a “vulnerable social layer” for the Armenian society. I am concerned, it might be easy to manipulate their will not only in favour of Turkey’s ambitions, but in favour of any other side, which offers some minimum basket.

    Turk remains a turk: always completely erasing any native sign from the good they grab.

    People like Gelat are the provocateurs and recruiters, fishing in that politically-blind layer. Creators of 5th colonies. Nothing to be proud of.

  22. hovo said:

    Gelat, I really don’t need your reponse I have enough, yes, although you claimed that you are 21 years old girl, I don’t trust you, I don’t know you, but one thing is clear that you are vicious animal, you don’t have heart, you always show us the true face of turks. You are robbing these people emotionally and pschologically. From whom to ask compensation? Turkey, you don’t even want to recognize the fact. Again and again, the international court can not solve this issue. Why? This court is a dubious tool with lack of enforcement, and go read some law books and you may learn that Turkey has soverign state rights. Now dead bodies, you know well that the absence of evidence it is not the evidence of absence. You had already hidden the evidence, but our memories are still alive. As a matter of fact, I just talk one turk who told me that his grandfather killed around 7 armenians, and he told him that they were either babyies or grandmoms and the river was full of our blood. Anyway you are an animal you don’t understand humans’ feelings. Take your a little ass out of this site and leave me alone, I don’t want to hear from you.

    • Gelat said:

      well who is that Turk whose grandfather killed 7 Armenians?:)Please don lie and try to fool me and yourself…

  23. F.Munoz CL said:

    First, Armenia’s economy hadn’t be able to improve at cause of it’s landlocked situation (being fault of Turkey’s invasion of Artvin, Rize, Ardahan, Kars; that leaves Armenia without reach to the sea), being false that all Arm. problems are caused totally by internal causes. Chile and Bolivia had a war in 1879-1881, leaving Bolivia landlocked. However, Chile agreed (by treaty as compromise, not words) to let Bolivia to access, without any taxes, to chilean ports in the Pacific Ocean; not having Bolivia to pay the use of the ports too. The only difference is in terms of sovereignty, but for all the other trade reasons, Bolivia has free access.
    If Turkey had done the same with Armenia, the hostilities between them could be at minimum level. That shows how much is the lack of a serious -and consecuent- foreign policy in the post-Cold War Turkey.
    Second, the international jurists must start NOW to discuss how to consider and aboard, those ethnic-religious conflicts caused by the ‘Demographic Bombs or Invasions’, or as i say ”Peaceful Invasion of an historical-ethnic land”, something seen in Nakhichevan and tried in NKR. I think that the future wars or ethnic conflicts would be caused by this unnamed problem, caused by the falling populations of some ethnics, and the growing populations of the other ones
    And third, Self-Determ. has more validity, because many borders were drawn, and territories were created, by the main military powers (those were usual practices in the past), as we seen in Ottoman Turkey, Western Empires (Asia, Latinamerica, Africa) and Soviet ”Union” (Divide and Rule policy, Massacres). And as consecuenses, many conflicts had flared as result of the inconsistance of those measures.

  24. hovo said:

    Ararat (in armenian Masis) don’t bring a straw man argument, and don’t make people to doubt me. The conversation regarding AG is the main reason that this turk is here, so don’t you worry I know what I am talking about. Probably you watch to much Hollywood movies and you don’t trust anybody, but I am here to protect you guys from those animals, and Nairian jan no problem as long you believe me… Astvat cez pahapan…

  25. hovo said:

    Another stupid MihranK, listen to me there is no body like gelat, nobody, now what’s your problem, I am more armenian than you!

  26. hovo said:

    Munoz, I do not know what you talking about, no justice no peace, so what a name you have go back your country!

  27. Samuel D said:

    As Honorable Papian, with his research debates legitimacy of self determination, Artsakh people, there are
    another resolute prooves, which indicates, Artsakh is land of Armenian, with its population, that we can measure with existence of historical evidence, with thousands of years life span Fake Azarbaijan, exisist less than a hundred year, while Real Azarbaijan is an Iranian province, with thousand years of history,with
    absolutly seperate history, & tradition, the inventors of Fake & pop up Azarbaijan selected this name intentionaly, with the purpose, for there expansionist agenda, as a clearence encrochment to Iranian teritory, world war 2 was an excellent opportunity for Fake Azerbaijan, with the help of Stalin, to occupy
    Iranian province of Azarbaijan, but Iranians successfuly kicked Fake Azaris ass out of country, question
    is here, they want with fraud & distortion deface historical & Rights of Self determination, people of
    Artsakh, another issue, say on the time of Soveit Union, Artsakh has been annexed to Azerbaijan without population concent, but Artsakh regained its Freedom & Liberty, when Soveit Union dismontled many countries come to existence, including Artsakh Republic,if Azarbaijan claims Soveit Union border drawing as a proof, then it must be an integral part of Soveit Union, Azerbaians claim coutradicts, with its own whereabouts, also soveit Union is not exist anymore.

  28. hovo said:

    Ara Ararat, £tqan tkha chkas inc pataskhanes, gna mi qich hajeren sovori, inchi masin es khosum “vulnerable social layers or in favor of any other side” there is only two side, either with us or without us.

  29. Tom said:

    Gelat, you’re a complete moron. Are you waiting a hundred years to excavate your territory to search for Armenian mass graves? People were deported, and plenty of them died in the desert. For those who died in modern-day Western Armenia, their bodies have long since deteriorated. A hundred years after dying, one’s body naturally decomposes into the earth. I know in Turkey they don’t teach you that, along with their inability to teach proper history. I pity you, really.

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