Nagorno-Karabakh and the Minsk Group: The Imperfect Appeal of Soft Law in an Overlapping Neighborhood
52(1) Texas International Law Journal 45-70 (2017)
26 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 17, 2017
For more than two decades, the Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, the United States, and France, has served as a steward over the dispute resolution process involving Nagorno-Karabakh, a tiny enclave of ethnic Armenians belonging to Azerbaijan. Although described as a frozen conflict, the conflict is fluid, dangerous, and increasingly complicated by overlapping interests and spheres of influence. This Article concentrates on the power-shifting attempts to facilitate a solution via use of the soft law forum of the Minsk Group, problematizing the perceived theoretical advantages found in the literature that instantiate soft law's superior potential for solutions. That powerful countries may utilize informal processes and forums to pursue parochial interests while forestalling peaceful settlement suggests a need to examine critically efforts to use soft law as an expedient to norm development.
Keywords: Nagorno-Karabakh, Minsk Group, soft law, secession, multilateralism, self determination
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