Armenia’s Obligations under International Law in the Area of Mine Action

Azerbaijan’s conflict-affected territories that were previously under the occupation of Armenia are severely contaminated by landmines and the explosive remnants of war. This poses a serious threat to human life as well as creating a significant impediment to the implementation of rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts by the government of Azerbaijan. This commentary argues that Armenia’s constant refusal to submit the remaining maps of mined areas located within Azerbaijan’s liberated territories, as well as the deliberate planting of landmines in these territories even after the end of the war, is in violation of its international anti-mine obligations. This has resulted ipso facto (by the fact itself) in war crimes and crimes against humanity that raise the issue of Armenia’s responsibility under international law for their perpetration. This author finds that, despite the fact that Armenia is not a state party to the international conventions on mine action, it should uphold their provisions because those conventions were created based on long-standing international customary rules regarding the conduct of warfare and address the humanitarian aspects of attacks on civilians and the violation of the jus cogens (peremptory norms) of international law.

Authors: Najiba Mustafayeva