Chiragov v Armenia: Yerevan downplays ECHR ruling on Karabakh

Armenia on Thursday played down political implications of a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling on an Azerbaijani lawsuit stemming from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Answering the question from RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on the Azerbaijani interpretations of the ECHR decision on the Chiragov v Armenia case, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said that “the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement are not conducted within the framework, under the umbrella, or through the mediation of the European Court of Human Rights” and that “the Co-Chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group is the only internationally mandated format dealing with the resolution of the issue.”

“The decision on Chiragov’s application is an individual court case which cannot have implication on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process. The manipulation of this case by Azerbaijan can only harm the efforts aimed at the peaceful settlement,” the top Armenian diplomat said, according to the press service of the MFA.

“Issues related to the right of the refugees and displaced persons to return are an integral part of the negotiation process, they can be settled as a result of the comprehensive resolution of the issue. The well-known statements of the heads of the Co-Chair countries on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement also made reference to it.”

In its June 16 decision related to the property claims by the displaced Azerbaijani citizen regarding the period of the active conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, the ECHR, in particular, dismissed the Armenian Government’s objection that Armenia did not have effective control over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories and thus lacked jurisdiction.

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to make a positive assessment of the ruling, saying that “the ECHR decision, as a matter of fact, put an end to Armenia’s denial policy regarding illegal occupation of Azerbaijani territories and military presence in the Azerbaijani territory.”

As the ECHR made a decision in favor of Chiragov, it also resolved a separate similar dispute of an Armenian refugee with the government of Azerbaijan in favor of the claimant.