Secretary General of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) Simona Granata Menghini responded to the letter sent by the President of the Union of RA Judges, Alexander Azaryan, on January 14, regarding Azerbaijan’s blocking of the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Artsakh with Armenia and the outside world.
In particular, it is said in the text:
“Dear Mr. Azaryan,
Thank you for your letter of January 14 asking for the help and action of the Venice Commission in response to the humanitarian situation around the Lachin Corridor.
I assure you that the Council of Europe, as a human rights organization, is closely following the situation. In particular, on December 14, 2022, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe expressed his concern regarding the humanitarian crisis around the Lachine Corridor, stressing that dialogue is the way to avoid the escalation of the tense situation, and there is also a willingness to help in the reconciliation of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
On December 16, observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, who are monitoring the situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, issued a joint statement expressing deep concern over the disruption of free movement through the Lachin Corridor, which has created difficulties for the civilian population. With the demand to restore the free movement of the people.
You are indeed aware that on December 21, the ECtHR granted Armenia’s request and made a decision to apply interim measures against Azerbaijan, which will ensure the transfer of seriously ill persons to Armenia, as well as the transfer of persons who were left without a roof and means of living along the way.
On December 22, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Mrs. Dunja Milatović, made a statement in which she also expressed concern that the long-term closed road deprives people of the opportunity to reach their homes, get vital goods, medical supplies and food, and all that prevents the people of Nagorno-Karabakh from enjoying human rights. The commissioner also appealed to those responsible for maintaining public order regarding the security of the Lachine Corridor to take all necessary steps to restore free movement on the road and viewed the matter as an urgent measure to prevent the humanitarian situation from deteriorating.
It is known that the Venice Commission is an advisory structure whose primary function is to provide legal advice to member states; in particular, the Commission supports the legal and institutional systems of member states in bringing them in line with European standards, democratic and international experience, Human Rights and laws.
Therefore, although it is beyond the mandate of the Venice Commission to respond to the situation in the Lachine Corridor, at the same time, we fully understand the seriousness of the problem and will forward your letter to the relevant bodies of the Council of Europe. I also want to let you know that I’m ready for the further process of the mentioned issue.
Secretary General of the Venice Commission, Simona Granata Menghini”