Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

October 21. 11 days have passed since the agreement on a humanitarian truce, but the Azerbaijani armed forces are continuing to target peaceful settlements of the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh and to use banned weapons against the civilians

October 21, 2020

Activities | Peacebuilding | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2020 | Peaceful Regulation of Conflicts | Publications | News

On October 21, the Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that Azerbaijan is continuing to target peaceful settlements in Artsakh. During the night of October 20, the truce was relatively held in all settlements, but Martakert and its neighbouring villages were once again targeted by the adversary at dawn. The adversary used aviation in the same direction yesterday and bombed civilian infrastructure. The Azerbaijani armed forces not only crudely violate the established humanitarian truce, but also use banned weapons against the civilian population.


During the live broadcast of “Azatutyun” radio station, the RA Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan mentioned that so far as a result of the Azerbaijani aggression, 1 civilian had been killed and 3 civilians had been injured in the Republic of Armenia, one of whom was a 14-year-old boy, there are more than 100 civilians injured in the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh. Arman Tatoyan highlighted that the Azerbaijani armed forces particularly target the civilian infrastructure around which there are no military objects, thus aiming to cause as much damage as possible. The RA Human Rights Defender particularly touched upon the use of cluster weapons banned by international treaties. Obviously, it is not only a type of weapon that causes mass destructions, but also one that mutilates lives and causes injuries. They are weapons used for terroristic purposes, and the use of which also pursues the aim of ethnic cleansing.


In the frame of fact-finding mission, the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh Human Rights Defender published an ad hoc report “On the Azerbaijani targeted attacks against the St. Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral of Shushi, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) as a war crime and crime against humanity”.  The presented facts reasonably prove that the Azerbaijani atrocities against the Artsakh population launched since 27 September are accompanied by deliberate attacks on the Armenian cultural and religious heritage in the territory of Artsakh.On October 8, the Azerbaijani armed forces, twice within a few hours with the use of combat and manageable drones, struck the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in the town of Shushi, which is the recognizable cultural and religious symbol of Artsakh. This act of Azerbaijan is in line with the state policy of Armenaphobia and ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan. It also demonstrates continuous radical disrespect towards the Christian heritage of Armenian identity


On October 21, the RA Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan appealed to prosecutor generals of the CIS member states, Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors and partners of the prosecutors’ offices of the Council of Europe member states, and presented the facts of the total and gross violations of fundamental human rights and the humanitarian law, targeting the civilian population and settlements even using weapons banned by international conventions, displacing numerous people, as well as torturing of captives, prisoners of war and killed servicemen’s bodies by the Azerbaijani armed forces during the military actions unleashed against the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia since September 27. The RA Prosecutor General noted his deep concernregarding the direct involvement of Turkey in the aggression implemented by Azerbaijan, as well as collection of foreign terrorists by Turkey and their involvement in the Azerbaijani armed forces during the military actions, which, besides deepening the conflict, also create a serious threat to the regional and international security.  He drew his colleagues’ attention to the condition that the silence and difference of the international community and the competent bodies of the relevant countries regarding these facts  are viewed by Azerbaijan and Turkey as a permission to continue the aggression that was started by violation of the international law. It is not only fraught with the continuation of the aggressive war unleashed, but also entails a real threat of turning the region into one of the main hot-beds of international terrorism. 


On October 21, the Ministry of Environment reported that they had drawn the attention of the Executive Secretaries of Environmental Conventions, international organizations and partners to the danger of a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe as a result of the Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression unleashed along the entire line of contact against Artsakh. The situation with corpses on the battlefield is getting out of control. Motion capture cameras installed in various locations in the area of hostilities have already captured how wild animals are feeding on corpses. Given that the casualties are numbering in thousands and many corpses are strewed near and along water bodies, continuity of this humanitarian disaster will lead to serious human health-related and environmental problems ranging from outbreak of various infectious diseases to spread of dangerous pathogens through wild animals and water bodies. These repercussions will not be confined to Artsakh/NK, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but have the potential to affect wider region. The Ministry  called on the international community to act decisively to condemn, stop the use of force against Artsakh, civilians and vital infrastructure in order to mitigate the humanitarian and environmental disasters in this region.


According to the official sources, so far, as a result of the Azerbaijani aggression, overall 38 civilians have been killed: 37 in the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh and 1 in the Republic of Armenia.


Read about the previous days HERE

Photo: Արցախի Տեղեկատվական շտաբ / NKR InfoCenter / НКР ИнфоЦентр


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