Azerbaijan asks World Court to order Armenia to help demine contested territories

FILE PHOTO: A view shows divided Taghavard village in Nagorno-Karabakh region

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The World Court said on Thursday Azerbaijan had asked it to order neighbouring Armenia to stop planting landmines in territories it once occupied and to hand over information about the location of mines, booby-traps and other explosives.

In its request for provisional measures in a case that has lasted years, Azerbaijan said "new evidence" had emerged that Armenia deliberately continued to lay landmines in "civilian zones to which displaced Azerbaijanis are slated to return".

In a statement, the court said Azerbaijan had asked it to order Armenia to take all necessary steps for the safe demining of towns and to "immediately cease to plant or to support the planting of landmines and booby-traps".

In October 2020, Azeri troops drove ethnic Armenian forces out of swathes of territory they had controlled since the 1990s in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, before Russia brokered a ceasefire.

The request by Azerbaijan is part of tit-for-tat cases filed at the World Court in 2021, where both Armenia and Azerbaijan have claimed the other country had violated the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which both states are signatories.

In emergency measures, the World Court in that year ordered both countries to prevent the incitement of racial hatred against each others' nationals, and to not to do anything to aggravate the dispute while the court considered the case.

It was not clear if the court would hear the request for new provisional measures.

The World Court in The Hague, formally known as the International Court of Justice, is the UN court for resolving disputes between countries.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; editing by David Evans)