Azerbaijan has been threatening to shoot down the first plane that flies to the Karabakh airport for a while. Recently, in an interview with EurasiaNet, an Azerbaijani figure stated that it is both legal and justified for Azerbaijan to shoot down a civilian airplane. I could not let that stand.
Today, EurasiaNet published my response to the interview. I’ll let others comment on how justified it is to shoot down a civilian airplane, but at least I can say that such an action is illegal under international law.
On the linked page are two responses with mine after the one in favor of Azerbaijan’s position (it comes from an Azerbaijani Ambassador; I think it’s fair that they put his response first.). The first response is internally valid, but it dodges the question of shooting down the plane. Whether flights from the Karabakh airport would violate the Convention or not is beyond my legal skills and beyond the scope of my response. What is within the scope (and what started this whole debate) is can Azerbaijan shoot down a civilian airplane and the first response doesn’t answer that question except to say, “I can point to arguments that have already appeared in an article published by EurasiaNet.org.”