Armenia asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to take this and other “provisional measures” two weeks after Azerbaijani government-backed protesters blocked the road on December 12. Lawyers representing Azerbaijan’s government denied the closure of the Lachin corridor during court hearings in January.
The ICJ concluded that “connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia via the Lachin Corridor has been disrupted.”
“The information available to the Court indicates that the disruption on the Lachin Corridor has impeded the transfer of persons of Armenian national or ethnic origin hospitalized in Nagorno-Karabakh to medical facilities in Armenia for urgent medical care,” it said. “The evidence also indicates that there have been hindrances to the importation into Nagorno-Karabakh of essential goods, causing shortages of food, medicine and other life-saving medical supplies.”
The court based in The Hague pointed out that a Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh commits Azerbaijan to guaranteeing safe passage through the region’s sole land link with the outside world. It said Baku should therefore “take all measures at its disposal to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions.”
At the same time, the panel of 15 ICJ judges rejected Armenia’s request for a separate injunction against the disruption of Armenian electricity and gas supplies to Karabakh carried out through Azerbaijani territory.
“The Court considers that Armenia has not placed before it sufficient evidence that Azerbaijan is disrupting the supply of natural gas and other utilities to the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh,” it said.
The ICJ also threw out Azerbaijan’s request to make Armenia stop laying land mines in the Lachin corridor. Yerevan has repeatedly denied the Azerbaijani allegations, saying that they are a pretext for blocking the vital road.
The two warring nations have sought injunctions against each other as part of their mutual lawsuits brought before the UN court in 2021. The legal dispute could take years to resolve. Also, analysts believe that the ICJ judges have no real means of enforcing their interim orders.
Yeghishe Kirakosian, a lawyer representing the Armenian government in international tribunals, said Yerevan will keep ICJ posted about Baku’s compliance with its latest order.