Noyan Tapan

(Noyan Tapan - 25.02.2011) Yerevan-In the framework of the "Civil
Assembly of the Armenian Agenda" initiative, a roundtable discussion
was convened today at the National Citizens' Initiative (NCI)
headquarters. The seminar, with the theme "Artsakh: from Kingdom to
Republic," was devoted to the historical foundations of Karabagh's
(Artsakh) statehood and the international legal grounds for the
declaration of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR).

Welcoming the audience with opening remarks, NCI coordinator Hovsep
Khurshudian noted that the genocide, which had started on 28 February
1988 in the Azerbaijani town of Sumgait and continued in that country
for the next two years, had demonstrated yet again the unquestionable
truth that, under the hegemony of official Baku, the safety of the
Armenians of Azerbaijan, including those Armenians who constitute the
majority of the population of the former Nagorno Karabagh Autonomous
Oblast (NKAO), cannot be guaranteed by any means.

With his report entitled "The Formation and Development of Statehood
in Artsakh: From Kingdom to Republic," the day's first speaker,
political scientist Stepan Hasan-Jalalian, stated that, still as part
of the ancient united Armenian kingdom, Artsakh had enjoyed certain
independent statehood whose structure, however, had changed in the
following centuries and in line with the changing conditions. But
according to Hasan-Jalalian, the daily life on that soil was organized
and regulated by the national authorities at all times. "The Artsakh
republic, which has formed in our times, is the objective result of the
historical and long-term process of the formation and development of
statehood in this territory. A statehood that is based on centuries-old
traditions and developed jurisprudence and is the main assurance for
the liveliness and development of Artsakh Armenians," Hasan-Jalalian
maintained. His report was accompanied with the screening of excerpts
from the film "Vachagan Barepasht (the Pious): Artsakh's First King,"
whose co-creator is Stepan Hasan-Jalalian.

In his intervention under the heading "The Impact of the UN
International Court's Consultative Conclusion on the Legality of
Kosovo's Declaration of Independence: What the Court's Conclusion
Suggests from the Standpoint of the Settlement of the Key Issue
of Artsakh," attorney Levon Gevorgian presented the most recent
international legal developments with respect to the concept of the
peoples' right for self-determination and the prospects against the
backdrop of the Artsakh question. Gevorgian detailed the peculiarities
of the newly developing theory of "secession, as a means of legal
defense" and its link to the classic right of self-determination. The
speaker invited a particular attention to the UN International Court
of Justice's consultative ruling "on Kosovo independence declaration's
correspondence with the international law" and its legal merit.

Gevorgian also looked into the international legal matters concerning
the recognition of new state formations, and the legality of
recognition and its possible outcomes.

With a policy assessment on the topic "A Critical Analysis of
the Primary Functioning Concepts in the Settlement of the Key
Issue of Artsakh," the next speaker, international law specialist
Andreas Ghukasian, spoke about the theses according to which MKR's
declaration is in conformity with the legislation of the former
USSR and the criteria for independent statehood. Ghukasian also
presented the political and legal concepts existing in Azerbaijan
as to the formation of MKR, specifically in terms of "aggression"
and "occupation" by Armenia. The speaker underscored the principles
of the concept which the Organization for Security and Co-operation
in Europe (OSCE) has adopted in connection with the resolution of
the Mountainous Karabagh conflict; the respect of human rights; the
disregard for the exclusion of using, and threatening to use, force
to resolve the conflict; and the "Madrid Principles'" destructive
potential toward the settlement of the conflict. In conclusion,
Ghukasian shared his vision for an alternative resolution.

The remainder of the session was dedicated to an interesting exchange
of views and recommendations among those in attendance. Noteworthy
were interventions by Tigran Pashabezian of the "Ukht Ararati"
initiative; secretary Larisa Alaverdian of the Heritage Party's
faction in parliament; eastern studies specialist Areg Bayandur;
sociologist Syuzanna Barseghian; political scientist Arman Sahakian;
and several others.

At the end of the roundtable, the participants received the DVDs
which feature "Artsakh's First King: Vachagan Barepasht" and another
film by Stepan Hasan-Jalalian entitled "Hasan-Jalal-Dola: The Ruler
of the Rulers of Artsakh-Khachen."

For further information, please call (37410) 27-16-00 or 27-00-03;
fax (37410) 52-48-46; email [email protected]; or visit www.nci.am

From: A. Papazian