Armenia, Azerbaijan must not ‘aggravate’ feud: UN court

The UN’s top court ordered Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday to avoid escalating their dispute while it considers a wider case sparked by last year’s war between the Caucasus foes.

Azerbaijan must also protect prisoners of war from the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, protect cultural heritage and prevent the “incitement of racial hatred” against Armenians, the International Court of Justice said.

The Hague-based tribunal was ruling on a request by Armenia for emergency measures against its rival. The court was due to give judgment on a tit-for-tat request filed by Azerbaijan later Tuesday.

“Both parties shall refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the court or make it more difficult to resolve,” ICJ chief judge Joan Donoghue said.

Azerbaijan must “protect from violence and bodily harm” all prisoners from last year’s conflict over the breakaway republic and ensure they are treated lawfully, the court said.

The ICJ also ordered Baku to “prevent the incitement of racial hatred and discrimination including by its officials and institutions” targeted at Armenians.

Azerbaijan must further prevent the “vandalism and desecration” of Armenian cultural heritage including churches, it said.