Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction


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The ECtHR on Nagorno-Karabakh: Current Approaches and Future Prospects

Gayathree Devi KT

In recent years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has seen an influx in claims concerning human rights violations in contested territories. Nagorno-Karabakh is one such interesting territory, because it involves competing territorial claims not only from States – Azerbaijan (the internationally recognized territorial State) and Armenia (the occupying force) – but also from a non-State actor, the Republic of Artsakh. Although Artsakh lacks international recognition, it has been exercising de facto control over Nagorno-Karabakh to the exclusion of Azerbaijan since at least 1991. Its role in the human rights situation in Nagorno-Karabakh matters, because several human rights violations in the region are being committed by this de facto regime (DFR), whether with or without Armenia’s support. Against this backdrop, this blogpost analyses how the ECtHR has been establishing jurisdiction and responsibility for claims arising out of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict so far. It also considers the implications of the court’s 2021 decision in Georgia v Russia (II) for claims arising out of the recent resumption of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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