THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Judges at the United Nations’ top court ordered Azerbaijan on Tuesday to protect all the prisoners it captured during the country's war last year with neighboring Armenia, to prevent incitement of racial hatred against Armenians and to punish vandalism of Armenian cultural heritage.
The orders came at an early stage of a pair of cases Armenia and Azerbaijan filed at the International Court of Justice that are linked to last year's war over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The court also ordered both sides to “refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the court or make it more difficult to resolve.”
Judges planned to rule later Tuesday on Azerbaijan's request for the court to order Armenia to halt the laying of landmines, to provide Azerbaijan with minefield maps to assist clearance efforts and to take measures to halt incitement by Armenian groups of racial hatred and violence against Azerbaijani citizens.
Both cases stem from simmering tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh that boiled over into a 2020 armed conflict that more than 6,600 people dead. The region is within Azerbaijan but had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
Rulings by the world court are final and legally binding. The court is expected to take years to issue final rulings in the two cases.