YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Nagorno-Karabakh parliament voted on Wednesday to prolong by one year martial law that has been in force in the Armenian-populated region since the beginning of the war for secession from Azerbaijan. The lawmakers ratified a decree to that effect signed by the self-proclaimed republic’s President Arkady Ghukasian.
Imposed in 1992–martial law has since been extended in Karabakh each year. With no breakthrough achieved yet in the political settlement of the conflict–a large part of Karabakh’s male population remains under arms. A ceasefire agreement that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in May 1994 has largely been honored by the conflicting parties despite periodical skirmishes along the line of contact.
Wednesday’s session of the Karabakh parliament was boycotted by more than a dozen deputies supporting General Samvel Babayan–the sacked commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army. The deputies demanded an emergency session following Babayan’s dismissal on December 16 but were rebuffed by the parliament majority loyal to Ghukasian. One of them–Murad Petrosian–said he will not participate in the parliament’s work until it adopts a law guaranteeing the opposition access to state television.