by Natig Nazimoglu
Despite the crushing defeat in the Karabakh war, Armenia does not stop its claims to the Azerbaijani lands, particularly several mountainous regions of Karabakh, which are temporarily included in the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces. However, the conceptual approach to the territorial claims of the Armenian side has undergone certain changes.
Even before the 44-day war, Armenia realized that the principle of the people's right to self-determination, which they were defending, was no longer able to provide ideological and theoretical support for the occupation of Azerbaijani territories. Firstly, the reason is that the concept of “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh”, if we accept its legitimacy, the two-community that existed before the outbreak of the conflict in 1988. Therefore, it included not only the Armenians living in this Azerbaijani region but also the Azerbaijanis expelled from there already during the conflict as a result of the ethnic cleansing carried out by the Armenian side. Secondly, the idea of the "people of Nagorno-Karabakh", which the Armenian side tried to impose on the world community, giving it a specific ethnic characteristic, did not stand up to criticism for the reason, that the Armenians have already determined themselves within the framework of the Republic of Armenia. In other words, the “people of Nagorno-Karabakh” in its Armenian interpretation simply did not exist.
Finally, even if the world community would agree with the Armenian interpretation of this concept, this would still not guarantee the possibility of international recognition of the consequences of the occupation. Since the principle of the people's right to self-determination, defended by Armenia, by international law, including the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act, does not contradict another fundamental principle - the territorial integrity of states. On the one hand, the right to self-determination may well be ensured within the framework of the territorial integrity of the state, and on the other hand, the authority of the principle of territorial integrity rejects the possibility of secession from the state of any part of it, even under the pretext of the right to self-determination.
These international legal postulates produced serious problems for Armenian diplomacy, focused on achieving legitimation of the consequences of the occupation of Azerbaijani territories. Therefore, the last few years before the start of the 44-day war, they began to insist not only on the "right of the people to self-determination", but already "on the right of the people to self-determination without any restrictions." Understanding the latter, of course, is the separation from Azerbaijan of a part of its internationally recognized territory. However, this did not have the expected effect for the Armenian side, since such a concept, which fundamentally contradicts the principle of territorial integrity, simply does not exist in international law.
With the start of the 44-day war, when the inevitability of the country's defeat and the collapse of the occupation policy became obvious to the leadership of Armenia, it started a new idea, which it is trying to justify its continuous claims to the lands of Azerbaijan.
We are talking about the so-called concept of Remedial secession - "Correctional ward", or "Separation for the sake of salvation." It means the possibility of forcible separation from the state of any part of it by the world community if the population living in this territory cannot exist under the rule of this state because of the discriminatory policy pursued by it for racial, national or religious reasons, massive violation of human rights or genocide.
Even at the peak times of hostilities, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated in his interview with the Swiss TV channel RTS that he expected the international community to apply the principle of "separation for the sake of salvation" for "Nagorno-Karabakh". A similar statement was made then by the representative of Armenia to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Yeghishe Kirakosyan, who called the method of realizing the right to self-determination in the form of "separation for the sake of salvation". She stressed that the principle of "separation for salvation" is a more specific formulation, while "the right to self-determination" is a more general principle. “In the second case, self-determination can be considered as the right both to organize a separate unit and to unite with another. The principle of "separation for the sake of salvation" testifies to the fact that there is no turning back and the thesis of a hypothetical unification is inadmissible", she added
After the end of the war, when a new reality emerged for the defeated Armenia, which marks the end of the conflict and the collapse of the idea of "the status of Nagorno-Karabakh", its leaders continue to hold the "separation for the sake of salvation".
"The Second Karabakh War proved that Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be a part of Azerbaijan under any circumstances and in the current situation the principle of 'separation for the sake of salvation must be applied", said Security Council Secretary of Armenia Armen Grigoryan said at a meeting of the Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils of the CSTO member states held in Dushanbe.
While introducing the principle of "separation for the sake of salvation" about the Karabakh Armenians, Armenia constantly refers to the notorious "Kosovo precedent". This principle was taken as the basis for the process of self-determination of Kosovo and its recognition by several countries and international structures. The Armenians are promoting the idea that Kosovo can serve as a "precedent" in the context of "separation for the sake of salvation" for "Nagorno-Karabakh". However, at the same time, they admit obvious falsification.
First, there is no "Kosovo precedent". The organizers of the secession of this region from Serbia themselves - the United States and the leading states of Europe - stated and affirm that the solution to Kosovo is not a precedent for other conflicts.
Secondly, what kind of similarity to the Kosovo situation can we talk about if Armenia has carried out the occupation of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan for 30 years, which was also accompanied by the most severe ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijani population, the expulsion of about a million Azerbaijanis from their native lands, by committing numerous acts of mass extermination of Azerbaijani people, including the Khojaly genocide. The Armenian side committed those war crimes against the Azerbaijanis and Azerbaijan that the Kosovars did not commit crimes against the people of Serbia, the state from which Kosovo actually fell away with military and political support from outside.
Finally, thirdly, the self-proclamation of Kosovo's independence and its subsequent recognition mainly by some Western countries was the result of the application not of certain legal principles, but geopolitical expediency. Based on the latter, the West punished Serbia by recognizing Kosovo for staying, in fact, the last island of Russian influence in the Balkans. Meanwhile, the fact that the secession of Kosovo could not be realized based on the “principle” put forward by Armenia which supports its claims to Azerbaijani lands, is mainly explained by the fact that such a principle simply does not exist in international law.
The so-called principle of "separation for the sake of salvation" is nothing more than a manipulative idea invented by the supporters of radical separatism and the aggressive strategy of several states that are raising the issue of redrawing the established interstate borders. The ugliest manifestation of this kind of strategy is the policy of Armenia towards Azerbaijan. Hiding behind the aforementioned "principle" at the present moment, characterized, in particular, by the catastrophic situation of Armenia after the crushing defeat inflicted on it by Azerbaijan, the defeated country only confirms its existential unwillingness to get out of the cycle of its hatred and hostility towards its neighbours. So her calculation on the use of this concept is futile both from the point of view of international law,
The "discrimination" allegedly threatens the Armenians living in the mountainous part of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. This is also nothing more than a myth used by Armenia from the very beginning of the conflict to support its greedy views on Azerbaijani lands. The Azerbaijani state has always stood for the peaceful coexistence of Azerbaijanis and Armenians in the mountainous part of Karabakh. For nearly 30 years of negotiations, Azerbaijan has agreed to grant its Nagorno-Karabakh region the highest degree of self-government. And now, already as the winner of the Karabakh war, which was marked by the removal of the Armenian military forces from the occupied territories, Azerbaijan continues to proceed from taking into account the interests of the Armenian minority, allowing it to be granted cultural autonomy. Azerbaijan advocates for the comprehensive reintegration of its Armenian citizens into Azerbaijani society. However, preventing the realization of this prospect, Armenia is actually trying to deprive the Karabakh Armenians of this only possible peaceful path, which lies through the declaration of all rights and freedoms for them within the framework of Azerbaijani citizenship.
The Karabakh conflict was solved in the 44-day war, victorious for Azerbaijan. It was settled in the same way as Azerbaijan had warned from the very beginning of the bloody confrontation unleashed by Armenia - based on the principle of inviolability of internationally recognized borders, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Any attempts by Armenia to create some new "principles" only reveal its desire in any form to continue its claims to Azerbaijani lands. But this is a destructive path for Armenia itself. Since it does not take into account the objective reality, both in the context of the norms and principles of international law, and the strength of Azerbaijan, which from now on will never allow anyone to encroach on its sovereign rights, territorial unity and integrity.
Read the original article on caliber.az.