Azerbaijan does not comply with the decisions of the UN International Court of Justice of December 7, 2021. The Hague Court ruled that Azerbaijan should take urgent measures to prevent hatred of Armenians and to stop the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage. One of the commitments made on Azerbaijan was not to take any step that could complicate the dispute between the parties.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan (Representative of the Republic of Armenia on International Legal Affairs) - Unfortunately, the way of working that we see on the part of Azerbaijan, especially the recent developments, is nothing but a direct violation of these points. In this regard, we also have the opportunity to notify the court of violations if necessary.
In a video posted on the Internet in March 2021, he saw how the Azerbaijani military vandalized and desecrated the Surb Astvatsatsin Church in Karintak. In recent days, it has become known that Baku removed the cross of the White Cross Church in Hadrut in an attempt to present the Armenian Church as ‘Albanian-Udi’.
Gegham Stepanyan (Artsakh Human Rights Defender) - After the Azerbaijani aggression in 2020, almost all the tools defined by international law for the protection of our cultural heritage were used with the serious, active participation of the state bodies of the Republic of Armenia, the state bodies of the Artsakh Republic (Nagorno-Karabakh) and the public sector.
The Artsakh Ombudsman reminded about the letters and reports sent to international structures. The PACE Special Rapporteur also referred to the dangers threatening the cultural monuments of Artsakh. Stepanyan also responded to the announcements of the Azerbaijani Minister of Culture to set up a working group, emphasizing that Baku has always tried to eliminate the Armenian trace from cultural monuments.
Yerevan also strongly condemned the statement of the Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan on the establishment of a working group to destroy the Armenian religious, historical and cultural monuments under the control of Baku. Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Vahan Hunanyan stressed that the establishment of such a structure at the state level in order to deliberately and illegally appropriate the historical and cultural heritage of the neighboring people and deprive them of their historical memory is unprecedented even in the history of conflicts.
“The step is a clear challenge to the decision of the UN International Court of Justice on December 7, 2021, which clearly obliges Azerbaijan to “take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration against the Armenian cultural heritage, including churches, other places of worship, monuments, sights, cemeteries, artifacts. In the current situation, at least the immediate intervention of the international community, in particular UNESCO, and the unhindered involvement on the ground is becoming more urgent to preserve the Armenian monuments of Artsakh, which are part of the universal cultural heritage, to prevent cases of vandalism. This policy of distorting the identity of the Armenian historical and cultural heritage, the destruction of religious sanctuaries, contradicts the statements of Azerbaijan to achieve reconciliation and creates serious obstacles to the establishment of local peace in the region.”
A number of NGOs in Armenia have appealed to the Government to immediately notify international organizations of actions taken by the Azerbaijani authorities to eliminate the Armenian cultural heritage.