“The Case for Canada’s Recognition of the Republic of Artsakh as a Measure of the Responsibility to Protect” is a legal brief researched and prepared by a group of Canadian legal experts, led by Armenian Bar Association members Sheila Paylan and Anaïs Kadian. It presents legal arguments that are relevant to the importance of Canada’s recognition of the Republic of Artsakh. In particular, it argues that Canada’s moral and legal obligations to prevent further atrocities against the Armenians of Artsakh have been triggered, both generally as a result of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and also specifically by virtue of its authorization of the sale of drone technology to Turkey which was used to commit atrocity crimes against Armenians.


The brief has been distributed by the Armenian National Committee of Canada to various levels of Canadian government, including the Prime Minister’s Office. It was prepared considering Canada’s foreign policy and specific relationship to international legal principles. It should therefore not be taken as the definitive or best argument for diplomatic recognition by any other jurisdiction, although elements of the brief could certainly be extrapolated and applied to other jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction will need to independently answer the question – “how can my country legally recognize Artsakh?”


For more information from an International Law perspective, Judge Armen Tamzarian wrote his 1994 article in the Southwestern University Law Review analyzing Artsakh’s right to political independence through the principle of self-determination.

EN_Executive summary_Case for Canada's recognition of Artsakh

EN_The Case for Canada's Recognition of Artsakh under R2P (25 Nov 2020)

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2024 International Law Symposium: Call for Papers

The humanitarian crisis for the ethnic Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) [as a result of Azerbaijan’s complete military encirclement, months-long blockade, and, ultimately, the entire Armenian population’s forced migration out of Nagorno-Karabakh] raise oft-ignored questions about the universality and effectiveness of non-derogable international human rights norms. This Call for Papers seeks submissions of abstracts for papers exploring the relationship between human rights and unrecognized or partially recognized States (viz, countries), particularly in connection with the live issues in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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