Statement – 04/10/2020
Azerbaijan’s large-scale aggression against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) started on September 27 2020 early in the morning and is still continuing. If anything, it is worsening through shelling of civilians and non-military targets, as well as direct attacks on journalists and emergency services. Azerbaijan has used long-range missile strikes to destroy civilian infrastructure that could cause an environmental disaster as announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia.
The selective approach that the Azerbaijani government uses towards international law is indefensible. While making a reference to the UN Security Council Resolutions (which do not give Azerbaijan permission for an unprovoked attack), Azerbaijan, with the direct involvement of Turkey, continues grave violations of international humanitarian law by attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure not only in Nagorno-Karabakh, but also deep in the territory of main-land Armenia, targeting press and using heavy, banned weaponry. All this is well documented and reported not only by Armenian authorities, the Ombudsman of Armenian, but also by international media operating in Nagorno- Karabakh and in Armenia.
The call of the UN Secretary General to cease fire during the pandemic and the urging of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet to ‘…respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular by ensuring the protection of the civilian population and people placed hors de combat, and by preventing damage to essential civilian infrastructure’ are being firmly disregarded by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Under these circumstances Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are exercising their inherent right of self-defence on the ground of Article 51 UN Charter.
The European Court of Human Rights already granted an interim measure (Rule 39 of the Rules of Court) in the case of Armenia v. Azerbaijan (Decision: ECHR 265 (2020). 30.09.2020). We would like to stress that the ECHR’s decision was based on the evidence, submitted by Armenia regarding intentional shelling of civilians, emergency services and non-military objects by Azeri/Turkish forces on the first two days on the war. Those attacks have intensified since.
USA, France, and Russia all officially confirmed that Azerbaijan and Turkey are importing Syrian fighters of Turkey-controlled jihadist groups as mercenaries to Nagorno-Karabakh. This proves another gross violation prohibiting mercenaries to fight as combatants (Article 47, Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977). It also proves, once again, that the attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia were contemplated well in advanced and planned with not only the encouragement, but the direct involvement of Turkey. Thus, demonstrating what a threat Turkey represents to the peace and stability in these regions and in the world.
Crucially, we believe, that at this point of time, international media, and the international community in general, should not only call for de-escalation on both sides but name the attacker as the violator of the international humanitarian law with all possible legal repercussions.
Right now, with every passing hour, the number of casualties from both sides is growing and that needs to stop. Armenia cannot allow another genocide of its people by Turkey and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan and Turkey have plans for the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, but not for its population, and are prepared to commit new war crimes and crimes against humanity to ethnically cleanse Nagorno-Karabakh of its population. That is the real and the only aim for both Turkey and Azerbaijan in this war.