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Validity of Contested Title to Territory in Frozen Conflict Zones: The Case of Nagorno Karabakh with Particular Reference to the 2020 War

Roeben, Volker; Jankovic, Sava

Validity of Contested Title to Territory in Frozen Conflict Zones: The Case of Nagorno Karabakh with Particular Reference to the 2020 War Thumbnail


Authors

Sava Jankovic



Contributors

Ying-jeou Ma
Editor

Abstract

In many frozen conflict zones, the validity of a recognised title to territory could be contested on normative and factual grounds. In the case of Nagorno Karabakh (NK), the Azerbaijani internationally recognized title could be contested and reassessed based on the right of the local Armenian population to self-determination. The 2020 six-week war also provides arguments that could impinge upon the Azerbaijani title, in particular, its recourse to force and misconduct during the war as well as the Armistice Agreement ending the war, which conferred upon Russia security guarantees. It could furthermore be challenged on the ground of the ineffectiveness, the long-lasting effective occupation of that land, or the ongoing peace process led by the OSCE Minsk Group, which favours a negotiated settlement and or on account of the behaviour of states in international organizations, such as voting for UN General Assembly resolutions. Finally, it could be argued that in the recent conflict Azerbaijan appeared to treat NK more as a “grey zone” than its own territory and breached the due diligence precept by inviting mercenaries, endangering international energy security, and expecting impunity. The article aims to clarify the validity of a recognised but contested title to territory in frozen conflicts through the lens of the NK case. It develops a matrix that permits to contrast the title with grounds that may challenge it and to evaluate whether those grounds are sufficient to dispossess the current titleholder of its right to the territory in question. The article concludes that both normative and factual challenging grounds currently do not erode the Azerbaijani title and as long as derecognition does not occur the title should be considered valid. The article’s principal contribution lies in this expandable matrix through which analysts may evaluate contested title to territory in this and similar frozen conflicts.

Citation

Roeben, V., & Jankovic, S. (2021). Validity of Contested Title to Territory in Frozen Conflict Zones: The Case of Nagorno Karabakh with Particular Reference to the 2020 War. In Y. Ma (Ed.), Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs (73-110). Brill Academic Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004532069_003

Online Publication Date Dec 19, 2022
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Jan 9, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 10, 2023
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Pages 73-110
Series Number 39
Book Title Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs
ISBN 9789004532052
DOI https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004532069_003

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