Aide to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev said at the briefing for ambassadors and diplomats of foreign countries on September 28, “The Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan operate in the sovereign territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan and organize the defense of Azerbaijan. These are defensive operations. Here, too, the main goal is to ensure the security of the Azerbaijani civilian population living close to the line of contact and to implement counter-offensive measures to prevent such provocations by Armenia. These operations can even be called Peace Enforcement. In this way, Armenia will finally be forced to make peace and participate constructively in the negotiation process.”
What is the Peace Enforcement operation (PEOps)? PEOps are forcible military interventions by one or more states into a third country with the express objective of maintaining or restoring international, regional or local peace and security by ending a violent conflict.
If we turn to international law, we will see that operations by Azerbaijani forces to stop Armenian occupation of Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and force Armenia for peace are completely legitimate from the point of view of international law. The formal legal basis for PEOps is under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Thus, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, as a rule, with the use of elements of coercive action, in order to prevent aggression or threats to international peace and security by any state, or by the parties to the conflict or the state in conflict. These are peace enforcement operations carried out by the without the consent of the international community. These operations can be carried out only on the basis of a UN Security Council resolution. As we know, 4 UN Security Council resolutions have been adopted on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The resolutions noted that stability and peace in the region were under threat, expressed concern over the growing number of IDPs and stressed the need to address the problems caused by the state of emergency in the occupied territories. The UN Security Council called for an end to the occupation in order to achieve a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Armenian forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. At present, Azerbaijan is exercising the right to self-defense enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter within the framework of these resolutions, as well as the use peace enforcement operations provided for in Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
In international practice, the doctrine of peace enforcement has been used in several cases.
For example, the principle of peace enforcement was applied in Bosnia-Herzegovina under the 1995 Dayton Agreement. At that time, the country was effectively divided into the “Serbian Republic” and the Muslim-Croatian Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and there was a conflict between them. But in the end, as a result of peace enforcement measures, the separatist regime of the “Serbian Republic” which was created within Bosnia and Herzegovina was forced into peace and the conflict was resolved.
Another example is the Ulster conflict between the British and the Irish, where there has been a confrontation between Catholics and Protestants loyal to England since the early twentieth century, demanding the annexation of the territory to the Republic of Ireland. As a result of peace enforcement measures, the area is currently not annexed to Ireland.
The concept of peace enforcement has been applied by in the context of the UN Charter and the UN peacekeeping doctrine during various periods of armed conflicts in African countries.
Immediately after Iraq’s military intervention in Kuwait on August 2, 1990, sanctions were imposed on the country by a UN Security Council resolution, which began to be implemented and lasted until 2003. As sanctions continued, the Iraqi government was forced to step back over disputed territories with Kuwait.
We can cite the precedents of Cambodia, East Timor, Rwanda, Somalia and Yugoslavia for the immediate implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and the immediate implementation of peace enforcement mechanisms.
Finally, I have to say that, it is easy to start a war, but very difficult to end it. The peace process is always complicated and almost never leads to a full settlement of the conflict. Peace enforcement operations are important for a completely fair settlement of the conflict.
Chairman of the Legal Analysis and Research Public Union