The first rulings in a pair of landmark cases at the International Court of Justice – with Armenia suing Azerbaijan for inciting racial hatred and abusing prisoners of war and Azerbaijan’s countersuit on anti-Azeri racism in Armenia – have largely gone in favour of Yerevan.
On December 7, in the first case (Armenia vs Azerbaijan), judges at the ICJ examining Armenian allegations that Azerbaijan breached a convention against racial discrimination ordered Azerbaijan to prevent incitement of racial hatred against Armenians and protect Armenian prisoners of war.
The statement included a demand that Azerbaijan must "take all necessary measures to prevent the incitement and promotion of racial hatred and discrimination including by its officials in public institutions targeted at persons of Armenian national or ethnic origin".
Presiding judge Joan Donoghue said Azerbaijan must protect from violence and harm "all persons captured in relation to the 2020 conflict who remain in detention" and must "prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration affecting Armenian cultural heritage".
The same day, in the second case (Azerbaijan vs Armenia), the first rulings were also issued. In the court statement, the ICJ ordered Armenia to “take all necessary measures to prevent the incitement and promotion of racial hatred, including by organizations and private persons in its territory, targeted at persons of Azerbaijani national or ethnic origin”. As for another Azerbaijani request, regarding a call to prevent Armenia destroying evidence of ethnically motivated crimes against Azerbaijanis, the court found these measures “are not warranted”.
Analyzing the outcomes of the two initial rulings, human rights lawyer Gabriel Armas-Cardona that regarding the protection of Armenian cultural sites, the ICJ “gave Armenia everything it asked for”. For the second suit, meanwhile, Armas-Cardona noted with surprise that Azerbaijan had received “only 1 of its 6 requests” in its ICJ suit, fewer than expected.