Interviews 15:48 19/04/2014

American Professor: Nagorno-Karabakh is a case of remedial secession presents an interview with Dr. William Slomanson, Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and visiting Professor at Pristina University. Dr. Slomanson argues that Nagorno-Karabakh qualifies as a case of remedial secession under the International Law.

- Dr. Slomanson, in one of your articles you argue that the cases of Ossetia, Abkhazia and Kosovo do not qualify as remedial secession, while in your article “Nagorno-Karabakh: An Alternative Legal Approach To Its Quest For Legitimacy” you argue that Nagorno-Karabakh presents such a case. How exactly does Nagorno-Karabakh qualify as a case of remedial secession and according to you what are the strongest points in NK’s argument of remedial secession?  

- The internationally accepted sources of International Law include – treaties, state practice and judicial decisions (as embedded in ICJ Statute, Article 38d). There is no treaty on secession, and there never will be, as that would be a political suicide for states. As for state practice, it has characterized three of the last four unilateral secessions as being unique (Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo—with no word yet on Crimea). There have otherwise been numerous conflicting state approaches to the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The remaining recognized source on secession in the International Law is thus judicial decisions – those issued by national/international courts. 

In this regard the undisputed lead case is the Canadian Supreme Court Quebec Secession case, with its three prongs. According to the first prong there must be a “People,” for which Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians within Azerbaijan no doubt qualify. Second, there must be “gross human rights violations” against this people – these violations were in place starting in 1915, when NK emptied out most of its Armenian population because of Turkish regional policies. These policies continued through and including 1989 (the Armenian population declined considerably as a result of gross human rights violations over many decades). In 1989 the US Senate-House passed Resolution 178 that expressed a concern on the ongoing violence in Nagorno-Karabakh - “seeking (2) Soviet re-establishment of economic and supply routes”; (4) “urge[s] ... investigation of the violence against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh;” and (5) “express[es] the serious concern of the American people about the ongoing violence ... interfer[ing] with international relief efforts.”

The Quebec decision’s third prong is “no alternative but secession”. Given the fact that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh was altered for a number of times – in 1919 (when the United Kingdom forced NK authorities to conclude an interim agreement with Azerbaijan), in 1921 (when Moscow annexed NK to the Azerbaijan SSR), in 1988 (by war) and in 1991 (by the declaration of independence) as well as taking into account the 2004 Minsk Group statement that NK independence is not possible under the USSR statute of 03 April 1990 (all of which are addressed in my 2012 article) I do not see how one could logically suggest that there is an alternative to secession. 

- If Nagorno-Karabakh presents a strong case for remedial secession what implications can this have, given that the right to remedial secession is not a hard law?

- Given the non-existence of a secession treaty, multiple changes in sovereign status of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as national/international concerns (such as those expressed in the above US Congressional position), the above-mentioned recognized sources of International Law leave only one logical source for supporting Nagorno-Karabakh’s bid for legitimacy – a national (Canadian) Supreme Court decision on a matter of International Law. While not a primary source, such as State practice, it is a recognized source of International Law. If by “soft” law you mean enforceability, the arguable lack thereof is a discrete political point, while the Quebec elements are widely acclaimed and thus are more akin to hard law than soft law. 

- Azerbaijan has officially adopted a stance that unless the conflict is resolved by peaceful means Azerbaijan has the “right” to take back Nagorno-Karabakh by force, appealing to the right of self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter and referring to alleged “occupation” of its territory. Is this stance of Azerbaijan compatible with international law or not (considering its international obligations and the 1994 ceasefire agreement)?

- Citing the UN Charter Article 51 self-defense by Azerbaijan is illogical, given the comparative size of both the Azeri land mass and military strength. NK, for example, does not have the Israeli drones that the Azeris use for patrolling the border. As 2006 Russian-American Dartmouth Conference report indicates, no single document (i.e., the 1994 ceasefire agreement) will supplant the need for all necessary parties to come to the table to hammer out a peace accord. One result of that not happening is the Azeri threat to use its military force to shoot down any plane/helicopter attempting to make the trip between the Yerevan and NK airports. So it would be NK, not Azerbaijan, that would end up with a decent Art 51 defense argument in this context. 

Interview by Nvard Chalikyan

Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


Syrian army establishes control over more areas in Aleppo
The Syrian army units, in cooperation with allies, continued military operations against terrorist organizations in the southwestern countryside...
Relics of Armenian kings unearthed in Aghdzk archaeological site
Exclusive excavations works have been done in historical-cultural archaeological site in Aghdzk village, which revealed some relics of Armenian...
The visit of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to Armenia is a very important event, President Sargsyan says
At the invitation of President Serzh Sargsyan, at Saturday night the Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of...
Iranian Foreign Ministry announces President Rouhani’s visit to Armenia soon
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi announced on Monday about the upcoming visit of President of the Islamic Republic Hassan...
Identity of Armenians killed in their Moscow apartment revealed
The RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs that the Russian authorities have provided information on the identities of the RA citizens who were...
Plane crashes after take-off in Malta, killing all five on board
A light aircraft crashed after taking off from Malta's main airport early on Monday, killing all five people on board. Reuters news agency...
FIMA became winner of RA Volleyball Championship
The men's Volleyball Championship of 2016 came to its end. FIMA became the championship winner. The team of Stepanakert ranked the second...
Hungary's Orban rejects 'Sovietization' by Brussels, defends nation state
At a commemoration of a 1956 anti-Communist uprising, Hungary's right-wing leader Viktor Orban said his country must stand up to...
Migrants rob 2 German journalists in Calais refugee camp
Two journalists from Germany have been robbed in Calais refugee camp, a representative of a volunteer organization told RIA Novosti on Sunday....
Gevog Gevorgyan: Today Armenian movies are not commercial
“Today fewer people go to cinema especially to watch Armenian films,” Director of the National Cinema Center of Armenia Gevorg...
Message on United Nations Day
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has issued a message on United Nations Day. The message reads the following: “This year’s...
Reporter Armen Martirosyan says that Belavia’s incident is linked with his political views
Famous blogger and reporter Armen Martirosyan, who was forced out of the airplane en route Kiev-Minsk after it was forced to land, claims that...
Situation on the Frontline
On the night of October 23-24 the adversary have violated the ceasefire regime along the Line of Contact between Armenian-Azerbaijani opposing...
Prime Minister vows to open up the business sphere to all investors
Through the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments we will have a kind of a business ombudsman, Armenian Prime Minister Karen...
Armenian, Artsakh foreign ministers discuss Karabakh conflict settlement
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian received today Artsakh Republic Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan. As the press statement issued...
The forced return of Belavia plane causes diplomatic unease between Belarus, Ukraine
The Ukrainian authorities forced a Belavia passenger jet en route from Kyiv to Minsk to return to the Zhuliany airport in Kyiv under the threat...
OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen visit Baku to get Azerbaijan back on negotiation track
OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will visit Azerbaijan today in a new set-up, US co-chairman James Warlick announced yesterday. According to...
Prime Minister suggests establishing a company to look for markets for Armenian agricultural products
Prime Minister of Armenia Karen Karapetyan visited today the traditional Armprodexpo specialized exhibition opened at the Yerevan Expo hall of...
Iran not directly engaged in Mosul liberation
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Ali Akbar Velayati who also serves as the Secretary-General of the Global Assembly of Islamic Awakening said:...
Member of the Swedish Academy on Dylan: ”Rude and arrogant”
Per Wästberg, author and member of the Swedish Academy, critisized Bob Dylan's refusal of acknowledging the Nobel Prize in Literature....
Donald Trump collaborates with Azerbaijan – worst country for representatives of LGBT communities
The US Republican Party nominee for president of the USA, billionaire Donald Trump, collaborates with countries notorious for their unfriendly...
James Warlick on next Sargsyan-Aliyev Meeting
Azerbaijani’s President Illham Aliyev has expressed willingness to meet Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan within the framework of...
European leagues suspended an accord with UEFA
European football leagues on Friday suspended an accord with UEFA in protest at reforms to the Champions League which gives greater power to...
Huge train crash in Cameron; at least 55 dead, hundreds injured
Fourteen people remained trapped on Friday under the wreckage of a packed passenger train that derailed in route between Cameroon's two...
“Readings of Narekatsi”: Second International Conference in tribute of Hrachya Tamrazyan
On October 28-29 the “Readings of Narekatsi” Second International Conference dedicated to the memory of Hrachya Tamrazyan will be...
Around 450 Shots fired towards Armenian Frontier Troops
On the night of October 21-22 the adversary have violated the ceasefire regime along the Line of Contact between Armenian-Azerbaijani opposing...
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s final presidential debate. Putin’s name used the most
The two US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump used the names “Putin” and “Russia” the most in the...
Mourinho explains what Henrikh Mkhitaryan needs to get back into Manchester United team
Jose Mourinho says that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is edging close to a Manchester United comeback. It was expected that the £26m Armenian...
Herbert Salber: Ceasefire preservation is a key factor for peace talks
“I have heard about it from different sources and I still need to acquire more information. Currently I am not in a position to make any...
German Historian on studying Documents about the Armenian Genocide
German historian and author of a number of works Michael Hesemann has studied the documents linked with the Armenian Genocide that are kept in...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}