Armenia is waiting for the response of the International Court of Justice of the United Nations regarding the actions of Azerbaijan to destroy the Armenian spiritual and cultural heritage. At the beginning of the year, Baku announced that the Armenian writings and traces of the Armenian churches under their control are fake, and created a working group to remove them. Yerevan raised the issue, calling it a violation of the Hague Court's decision of December 7, 2021. Facts were also submitted regarding the incidents of Parukh, Karaglukh, and the termination of gas supply in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in March.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan (RA Representative of International Legal Affairs) - We asked the Court to take steps in this direction. One is that the Court, under its reformed rules, has the power to create a three-judge panel to oversee the use of emergency measures. Citing these facts, we demanded it from the court.
Azerbaijan responded to the application, trying to deny it. The correspondence is still ongoing. The representative of Armenia on international legal issues expects that a committee of judges will be created, it will monitor the execution of the court's decision and will alert Azerbaijan. According to the statement of the Artsakh State Historical Environment Protection Service, the Azerbaijanis have completely destroyed the Hovhannes Mkrtich or Kanach Zham (Green Chapel) Armenian Church in Shushi and under the name of renovation, it is being turned into an Orthodox church. According to Kirakosyan, all cases are given a legal assessment and submitted to the court.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan - In addition to the fact that we have presented the facts to the court, the request for an urgent measure, we are corresponding with the Court as part of this, but we have, within the framework of the proceedings of the international court, Armenia is preparing the main claim, which will be presented to the Court in January, which summarizes all the legal justifications, the evidence.
Kirakosyan recalls the 2021 decision of the UN International Court of Justice to apply an urgent measure, which obliged Azerbaijan to take measures to prevent acts of vandalism and desecration against Armenian cultural heritage, churches, monuments, and cemeteries. Taking into account the threat to the Armenian religious and cultural heritage, the Armenian Apostolic Church also submitted a complaint to the European Court.
Yeghishe Kirakosyan - Article 9 of the European Convention on freedom of religion was invoked on behalf of his followers, as if a violation of Article 3 was recorded, because the cases of destruction of graves, for example, that people do not have the opportunity to visit, is also a violation of the convention. I am sure it has a deterrent role, Armenia should work actively.
DURING AND AFTER THE WAR, 26 CASES OF VANDALISM WERE RECORDED
According to Artsakh's Human Rights Defender, 26 cases of vandalism were recorded during the war and after it. Gegham Stepanyan notes that the data is regularly updated and transferred to diplomatic representatives of Armenia and international human rights organizations.
Gegham Stepanyan (Human Rights Defender of Artsakh) - The main source is the Azerbaijani media domain, websites have been launched using satellite means, for example, the destruction of the Mets Tagher’s cemetery. There are many more, we have been able to obtain evidence for 26.
They are churches, monuments, khachkars (cross-stones), cemeteries. The list is headed by Holy Ghazanchetsots, which was shelled twice during the war, Green Chapel, Mekhakavan church, Tsakhkavank of Tsakuri, Holy Yeghishe of Mataghis, Hadrut’s church...