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We, the following civil society organizations of Armenia, request the international partners to strongly and unequivocally condemn the killing of three servicemen of the Passport and Visa Department of the Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Nagorno-Karabakհ by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces on 5 March 2023.
We believe that an organized attack of this nature could take place only upon the instruction and patronage of the highest leadership of Azerbaijan. It is corroborated by the fact that instead of ensuring an independent investigation into the actions, the official Baku came up with its own narrative to justify the killings, presenting it as a reaction to an attempt of "transportation of military equipment, ammunition and personnel” from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh․ To note, the Armenian officials have suggested several times deployment of an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh to also monitor the alleged arms supply.
Such violent cases will repeat in the absence of monitoring and fact-finding missions, which the authorities of Nagorno Karabakh and Republic of Armenia continuously request for. Such gross crimes may repeat also because President Aliyev has chosen to ignore the international community by openly stating that: “There may be calls, there may be some statements, but we don't need to pay attention to them. We answer these calls simply out of political courtesy, but this will not change our position in the slightest.” This effectively means that the condemnation by the international community is not enough – there must be concrete international consequences for Azerbaijan and its officials.
It is noteworthy, that the deadly attack took place more than ten days after the binding Order of the International Court of Justice, which instructed the Azerbaijani authorities to “take all measures at its disposal to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions”.
Following the Court order, President Aliyev not only fails to ensure the implementation of the ICJ Order but does not hesitate to resort to bloody means to keep the population of Nagorno-Karabakh under terror. Most recently Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired at the civilians carrying out agricultural work. The official reports from Nagorno-Karabakh also suggest that the Azerbaijani side conveyed through its channels that either the people of Nagorno-Karabakh “accept the integration policy, or there will be no solution to the existing problems, on the contrary, there will be tougher and more drastic steps”.
There are all the early warning signs of not only another military escalation in the region but also of serious and obvious intention of ethnic cleansing. If not duly and properly addressed, Nagorno-Karabakh will soon be added to the list of human tragedies and logged as another failure by the international community.
The international partners, should use all political and legal instruments at their disposal to strongly condemn the actions of the Azerbaijani armed forces and demand from Azerbaijan:
• To ensure necessary conditions for deployment of the UN fact-finding mission to Lachin corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh to assess the human rights and security situation of the local Armenian population,
• To implement unconditionally the ICJ Order, restoring the unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions,
• To identify immediately the perpetrators of the 5 March 2023 killing and bring them to account.
If these lawful demands are not met, we expect our international partners to use legal instruments at their disposal to create effective mechanisms to protect the unalienable right to life of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Democracy Development Foundation
Transparency International Anti-corruption Center NGO
Protection of Rights without Borders NGO
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly- Vanadzor office NGO
Journalists’ “Asparez” Club NGO
Union of Informed Citizens NGO
For Equal Rights NGO
Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation NGO
Peace Dialogue NGO
Public Journalism Club NGO
Law Development and Protection Foundation
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