Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

October 23. Once again grossly violating the norms of the international humanitarian law, the Azerbaijani armed forces shelled civilian settlements of the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh

October 23, 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

The Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that the night of October 22-23 was restless in Martakert and Martuni region.Two units of an apartment building located on 7 A. Sakharov Street were engulfed in flames due to shelling of the town of Martakert in the RA/NK. The Martakert regional emergency department firefighters managed to extinguish the fire quickly, preventing it from spreading to other apartments. According to preliminary data, the enemy opened fire in this direction using Grad rockets.There were no human losses.


Towards dawn, the villages of Karmir Shuka and Taghavard in the Martuni region appeared in the crosshairs of the Azerbaijani gunners. Smerch type missiles were used here.


A number of villages in the Martuni region, including Karmir Shuka, are being struck by smerch rocket launchers.


Vahram Poghosyan, spokesperson of the President of the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh, reported that Askeran town of the RA/NK was under fire again. Martuni was again in the crosshairs of the Azerbaijani armed forces. Rocket strikes caused a lot of material damage. There are no casualties among the civilian population.


The State Service of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh reported that in the afternoon of October 23, at around 14:20, the enemy fired the territory of Karegah community of Kashatagh region and then also Karehag-Berdzor road section using a Grad rocket launcher. Besides the material damage, there are no casualties among the civilian population. The adversary forces are striking Martakert with rockets. Military aviation is used in the direction of the town.   


It was reported in the RA Human Rights Defender’s Facebook page that every opportunity is being used in Azerbaijan to deepen hatred towards ethnic Armenians. Azerbaijani mass media and social network monitoring, the collected evidence have revealed widespread and highly encouraged hatred, including through dissemination of photos and videos of Armenians appeared in Azerbaijan.


The Human Rights Defender also reported that they are in contact with families of Armenians captured by the Azerbaijani military. Everything is done within capacities of the Human Rights Defender in parts related to them, including through our contacts with international organizations.


The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, met today with the President of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, in Brussels.


They discussed the situation in and around the Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone. The European Union continues to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and strict respect for the agreed ceasefire by all. Any actions that target civilians or bring about further suffering to the civilian population must stop immediately. Josep Borell also stressed that the sides have an obligation to comply fully with international humanitarian law. Josep Borell urged the sides to return to the negotiations on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, without preconditions and without delay. All actors, including external parties, should refrain from any actions that may result in the continuation of hostilities and further casualties. This includes bringing an end to the dangerous, inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell reiterated the EU’s supports for the on-going efforts of the Co-Chairs.


On October 23, international human rights organization Human Rights Watch, summing up the results of the investigations in Artsakh, reported that Azerbaijan has repeatedly used widely banned cluster munitions in residential areas in the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh.


During an on-site investigation in Nagorno-Karabakh in October 2020, Human Rights Watch documented four incidents in which Azerbaijan used cluster munitions.


“The continued use of cluster munitions – particularly in populated areas – shows flagrant disregard for the safety of civilians,” said Stephen Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “Cluster munitions should never be used by anyone under any circumstances, much less in cities, due to the foreseeable and unacceptable harm to civilians.”


In the conflict over the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh, Human Rights Watch is investigating whether all sides of the conflict adhere to international humanitarian law, which requires armed forces to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and between military objects and civilian objects, at all times. Human Rights Watch has made repeated requests to the Azerbaijani government for access to conduct on-site investigations, but access has not yet been granted.


Human Rights Watch examined remnants of the rockets, impacts, and remnants of submunitions that exploded, as well as dud submunitions that failed to function at several locations in Stepanakert. Human Rights Watch also examined photographs taken in the town of Hadrut of a rocket, impacts, and remnants of submunitions that exploded, and a dud submunition that failed to explode. Human Rights Watch also spoke to six people who witnessed the attacks. Residents of Stepanakert told Human Rights Watch that attacks using cluster munitions began on the morning of September 27 in a residential area no more than 200 meters from the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross.  


The Republic of Armenia Gegharkunik province Governor Gnel Sanosyan reported in his Facebook page, that the resident of Mets Masrik village of the RA Gegharkunik province had died in Yerevan hospital named after Mikayelyan. The resident had been severely injured as a result of the shelling by the Azerbaijani armed forces on 1 October 2020.

Thus, so far, overall 39 civilians have been killed as a result of the Azerbaijani aggression: 37 in the Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh and 2 in the Republic of Armenia.


Read about the previous days HERE  

Photo: Armenian unified infocenter/Հայկական միասնական տեղեկատվական կենտրոն


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