The European Court of Human Rights on Friday warned against endangering the rights of the people of Berdzor and Aghavno communities by displacing them from their homes.
The new ruling was in response to a request by Armenia, which appealed to the court for the protection of the rights of the civilian population of Artsakh.
“The ECHR requested the parties to refrain from actions that could lead to the violation of the rights of the civilian population protected by the Convention, including endangering their rights protected by Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the Convention,” the court statement said.
The ECHR also recorded its decision of September 29, 2020, which is still in force, “is applicable to the actions referred to by the Government of the Republic of Armenia, that is, armed attacks on peaceful settlements, threats of displacement of the population” of Berdzor and Aghavno communities.
On September 29, 2020 the ECHR made a similar ruling when Armenia appealed to the body after Azerbaijani forces—aided by Turkey—launched a military attack against Artsakh. In November of that year, the court, in a separate ruling, urged Azerbaijan to comply with international law, especially the Geneva Convention. Then later in December of the same year, the ECHR reiterated its ruling, as it applied to Azerbaijan and its violations of international laws and conventions.
The ruling comes after the population of the Aghavno and surrounding villages in Artsakh’s Berdzor region was given until August 25 to leave their homes for the eventual handover of that area to Azerbaijan, whose forces launched an attack against Armenian positions in that region earlier this month, killing two Artsakh soldiers.
This move was seen as Azerbaijan using military attacks and threats to pressure Armenia and Artsakh to advance its aspirations in the region, despite specific provision cemented in the November 9, 2020 agreement, which states that the parties have three years—until 2023—to construct a new road that bypasses the original Lachin Corridor that connects Armenia to Artsakh.