In the mid of 2014, it will be twenty four years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Peaceful as break-up of a multi-national empire, the consequences for a number of its successor states were deeply destabilizing—socially, politically, and economically. One of the lasting, and still unresolved legacies of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its aftermath is the stubborn persistence of so-called ‘frozen conflicts’ in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova.
The oldest conflict in the post-soviet area, no doubt is in Azerbaijan’s territory. Armenian and Azerbaijan’s struggle over Nagorno Karabakh is one of themost savage disputes in the world, producing more than one million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons and more than twenty thousand casualties. After the initial four years ofwar (1990-1994) approximately twenty percent of the Azerbaijani territory was occupied by Armenia and the war situation was replaced by a stalemate no peace no war” situation. The current deadlock affects not only the two countries but also the entireregion both politically and economically. Now the longest-running conflict in the former Soviet Union, the battle for Nagorno-Karabakh has rapidly expanded and intensified since it began in 1988, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 25,000 soldiers and civilians and the displacement of one million others.The self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, have all committed egregious violations of the rules of war. During the war time such offenses include forced displacement, looting and burning of homes, hostage taking and holding, mistreatment and summary executions of prisoners of war, and indiscriminate use of air power against civilian targets.
Where Nagorno Karabkh does stands in human right after 20 years?
The situation “no peace no war” has been lasting for almost 20 years. This setting politically, economically, and last but not least, from the perspective of human rights is unacceptable. Nagorno Karabakh has become legal “black hole” for human rights.
Inhabitants in the territory of the ‘frozen conflict’ suffer from the human rights’ violations. Despite the fact that Nagorno Karabkh is unrecognized state in the international society the secessionist government are trying to behave as if they were state – mimicking the creation of state-like institutions from having national anthems and constitutions, to creating a judiciary system. What is more that the local government do not regard themselves to be bound by the human rights obligations of the state (for example: due to the perceived “state of war” there are several restrictions on freedom of movement, expression and assembly in all four zones of conflict)they attempt to secede however they are trying to get be recognized as the independent state.
In the secessionist Nagorno Karabakh region property rights are not about ownership, but to a large extent a demographic and security issue. Property rights are inherently linked to the right to live in or return to the conflict regions. Considering the large number of persons that was expelled from Nagorno-Karabakh, property rights are a central issue to this conflict. In addition, expropriation without compensation does not only violate human rights law, but it creates facts, which increase the costs for both parties to return to the territorial status quo ante. Dov Lynch described that demography lies at the heart of all four frozen conflicts. For this reason the return of internally displaced people (IDP) is not desired. Depriving them of their former livelihoods is one way of deterring them from returning. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic occupied during the 1991-1994 included not merely the territory of the Former Soviet Autonomous Oblast of Nagorno-Karabakh, but also an ample “security cordon” which is a few times bigger than Nagorno-Karabakh itself. These territories used to be predominantly inhabited by Azerbaijanis, and some 800.000 Azeris were forced to flee the regions Meanwhile the de facto authorities in Nagorno Karabakh emphasise that a return of IDP’s will not be permitted until the status question is resolved in Nagorno-Karabakh’s favour.
A large portion of human rights violations perpetrated in the zones of frozen conflict is targeted towards the nationals of the metropolitan state. Major disputes in this respect have been fought in recent years over language and discriminatory citizenship laws of the de facto entities. The formulation of citizenship laws must be seen as a conscious attempt to exclude the nationals of the metropolitan states from political life in the de facto entity. In Nagorno-Karabakh the Azerbaijani minority is not allowed to vote and take part in the official life of the self-declared Republic.
As it was mentioned previously Nagorno Karabakh suffers politically, economically, and has become legal “black hole” which suffer from the human rights’ violation and it will be for the rest of the time unless the occupation will end. Some of the people can tell that it is impossible to solve without ending the occupation, but international society has been witnessing these suffers not only in Nagorno Karabkh secessionist region but in other ‘frozen conflicts’ zone as well for twenty year and there is only one option of sorting out these problems – getting back to metropolitan state.