Azerbaijan continues to violate international humanitarian law, Armenian envoy tells UN Human Rights Council

In an address to the UN Human Rights Council, Armenia’s Permanent Representative Andranik Hovhannisyan expressed grave concern about non-compliance of Azerbaijan with its international obligations in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

He pointed to the extrajudicial execution of Armenians by Azerbaijani armed forces that may amount to a war crime, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of Armenians, destruction of religious and cultural heritage.

“On November 2021 Azerbaijan announced an amnesty for all those who participated in the war against Nagorno-Karabakh conveniently putting to rest even the theoretical possibilities for accountability on the crimes identified by the OHCHR and Special procedures. In another warrying move Azerbaijan announced about its decision to review, revise and effectively deface the cultural heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh. With a number of monuments of Armenian cultural and religious heritage destroyed, vandalized and misappropriated this new decision may result in total elimination of what is left,” Amb. Hovhannisyan noted.

The International Court of Justice has recently obliged Azerbaijan to protect Armenian detainees and ensure their equality before the law; to prevent anti-Armenian incitement and promotion of racial hatred, including by the officials; and to take necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of destruction of Armenian cultural heritage. Azerbaijan blatantly ignores all these measures prescribed by the ICJ.

“In these circumstances Armenia believes that the High Commissioner should receive unconditional and unimpeded access to Nagorno-Karabakh as she has requested a year ago,” the envoy added.

“Armenia is convinced that non-politicized, constructive, open and inclusive debates are essential for the promotion and protection of human rights,” he noted.

“Armenia will keep persistently communicating that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not a religious one and it cannot be anointed in religious terms. Armenia strongly believes that human rights are universal and are not limited to religious affiliations,” Andranik Hovhannisyan stressed.

When it comes to Armenia, he said “we reiterate that the adoption of the peace treaty is among the priorities of the Government.”

“The sanctimonious talks of peace that representatives of Azerbaijan pursue in the high-end salons around the globe are not matched with the corresponding appropriate actions on the ground,” the Ambassador said, reminding that on March 7, sergeant Hrach Manasaryan of the Armenian Armed Forces was killed by Azerbaijani forces.

“Azerbaijan continues to violate the letter and spirit of the international humanitarian law by keeping hostage the combatant and civilian detainees that should have been released and repatriated long ago without any preconditions. Azerbaijan weaponizes their suffering, unlawful and arbitrary detention to drive a bargain. It is coupled with the Government-induced and propagated extreme manifestation of intolerance and hate towards Armenians,” Amb. Hovhannisyan stated.

“It does not come as a surprise that the International Court of Justice has recently ordered Azerbaijan (and I quote) “to protect from violence and bodily harm all persons captured in relation to the 2020 Conflict who remain in detention, and ensure their security and equality before the law.” Obviously, Azerbaijan fails to implement this and other measures prescribed by the ICJ, which also violates the Court’s ruling to refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute,” he added.

He emphasized that Azerbaijan pursues an ethno-centric approach with the well-declared objective to force the indigenous Armenian population out of their homeland.

“Impunity leads to new ethnically motivated crimes. Hence, Armenia calls not to turn a blind eye to Azerbaijan’s violations of the international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” he concluded.

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