Interview with Tigran Ter-Yesayan, head of 'Forum' legal center.
In 2003, besides internal governmental problems we shall also face external problems, and there will be not only political pressures, but also those of legal character, says the lawyer.
Tigran Ter-Yesayan does not care for the results of the parliamentary elections. He worries about the upcoming presidential elections and its possible consequences. The lawyer's concerns are linked with the legal party regulating the Karabakh problem.
There are conflicting parties that have arguable problems. In connection with the Karabakh problem, Armenia has received rather atrocious and inhuman attitude by Azerbaijan. And, when Azerbaijan has 1-1.5 mln refugees, the number of our refugees totals 3 mln. However, the problem is to announce this loudly. Azerbaijan always talks about refugees. Now, the problem is maturing within the legal frame. The status of refugee is a legal problem for the state: when the state has refugees, it has to protect them, especially if they lived there for centuries and had cultural and valuable investments in that state. It is our people who lived in Azerbaijan. There is another question - we could not prove that millions of Armenians became prisoners of the Azerbaijani criminal acts. The stage is coming now when the question of Armenian-Azerbaijani refugees will ne rasied on a alegal level and the question of refugees' return will become dominant in the resolution of the conflict.
But, if the Azerbaijani community can live in safety in Armenia, why can't Armenians be safe in Azerbaijan? Won't the European community consider this delicate item when suggesting a resolution to the conflict?
There is another problem here; I can hardly say what forces will come to the arena to protect the security, as it happened in Yugoslavia, but we are talking about the juridical, legal recognition by the European Court. If Azerbaijanis could easily sell their property and leave Armenia, millions of Armenians just ran away from Azerbaijan, becoming real refugees. Twenty years later, the legal formulations are done, which are being used as a flag by the great states.
Can't we solve the problem of those territories by inhabiting our liberated territories with the people who ran away from Azerbaijan and allocating each person corresponding square meters?
I agree with your observation, though there is a little subtle issue. If the political problem is not resolved, the legal problem will arise.
Is this position vulnerable from the legal viewpoint?
While looking at this problem from the legal point of view, the problem of return arises. If we are talking about the return of seven regions, we also have our demands - our territories, but there is a second problem - the return of millions of Armenians to Baku. Most people speak about the return of territories while ignoring the human factor, i.e. refugees' problem. If Azerbaijanis say that they had property and lands in Lachin or Kelbaja, who will speak about the property of our refugees or reimbursement? While resolving the problem, the sides should also concentrate on the problem of refugees.
Is it legally correct that the RA represents Karabakh at different international instances?
It is correct, as Karabakh can not be a legal party.
I see, as it is not recognized. But, is Armenia legally authorized to resolve problems concerning the fate of Nagorno Karabakh?
No, Armenia is not authorized. There is a refined item here - the court can ignore that Armenia refuses the fact of being unauthorized to resolve the problems instead of Karabakh. That is why the problem should be resolved in the political field to avoid its transfer into the legal frame.
What is the political way of resolution? At present, there is no proposal submitted in favor of Armenia. So, what should be done about it before the refugees' problem is raised?
I should not say that there is no solution at this moment. I would like to say that we have to plan our steps for the next 5-10 years. We know that we are right; we have to act now till the decision is made, not to say later that it was not favorable for Armenians. Otherwise, we will be depressed; upset and we will have conflicts in the state, which will be used by the enemies. We experience an exclusive period when all the three presidents of the country are actively engaged in politics. Let's use the moment and solve the problem in a unified way. In 2013, we will meet a big trial. I don't say it will be bad, we will have many trials of that kind; as small countries like ours are not guaranteed against them.
Well, you say that the society and political forces are involved in small problems ignoring the most important problems. Have our foreign affair bodies or security structures forgotten about their functions and are they occupied with internal problems?
Every official, if asked the question, will say he is doing everything in the best possible way.
What is your opinion?
My opinion is that this problem is ignored.
Interviewed by Diana Markosyan