in Russian – https://aga-tribunal.info/afaja-1/
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By the end of October 2020, the French Association of Armenian lawyers and jurists AFAJA initiated a petition in six languages addressed to the UN Security Council. During the month as on November 25, it was signed by 28,140 people. Web address of the petition in English – here.
Call on the UN Security Council to immediately initiate legal proceedings against those responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh
Considering the threat to international peace and security posed by the war and ethnic cleansing against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, the bombing of the population and civilian infrastructure and the use of unconventional weapons and cluster bombs against them, the sending of jihadist brigades transferred from Syria and Libya to Azerbaijan to terrorize and drive out the Armenian populations of Nagorno-Karabakh, the exodus of more than 90,000 Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, forced to flee for their lives,
Considering the lack of manifest willingness of the Azerbaijani and Turkish judicial institutions to investigate, prosecute and judge the perpetrators of the previously denounced crimes,
The signatories of this call request that the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations :
- Refers the matter to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, on the basis of Article 13-b of the Rome Statute, in order to investigate, prosecute and bring to justice the perpetrators, accomplices and sponsors of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes committed in Nagorno-Karabakh since September 27, 2020, as incriminated in Article 5 of the Rome Statute.
- Decides the establishment of an ad hoc international criminal jurisdiction to investigate, prosecute and bring to justice the perpetrators, accomplices and sponsors of terrorist crimes committed by the jihadist brigades transported from Syria and Libya to Nagorno-Karabakh since September 27, 2020.
The signatories of the present appeal recall the factual and legal context of the ongoing war that urgently requires the intervention of an international jurisdiction:
- A war declared and continued by Azerbaijan with the support of Turkey
Since September 27, 2020, Azerbaijan, with the declared support of Turkey, has launched an all-out war against the civilian population and military positions of Armenians in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. This aggression, of unprecedented violence, annihilated the ceasefire achieved in 1994 under the auspices of the so-called Minsk Mediation Group established by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Despite the unanimous and repeated calls of the international community for a cessation of hostilities, without conditions, Azerbaijan and Turkey demonstrate by their actions that they wish to continue their attacks until the takeover of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, including the physical disappearance of all Armenians living there, in the logic of the Armenian genocide of 1915.
Such acts leave no doubt that ethnic cleansing is being carried out.
As part of its support “by all means”, Turkey provides Azerbaijan with close military assistance through control of the airspace, the delivery of weapons including its Bayraktar TB2 UAVs, the provision of F16 fighter aircraft and officers who have taken direct command of military operations.
- The indisputable involvement of terrorists made available by Turkey
Following the example of its modus operandi in Libya, Turkey has conveyed to Baku and then to the front line brigades of jihadists from Syria, which it arms and finances in order to act as substitutes for the Azerbaijani army.
This jihadist presence, clearly identified by Russian and Western intelligence services and confirmed by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, was denounced by Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, declaring at the end of the European Council on October 2, 2020: “They are known, traced, identified, they come from jihadist groups operating in the Aleppo region.
The involvement of these Islamist terrorists constitutes a further attack on the security of Christian Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and more generally a threat to peace in the South Caucasus region.
In a report dated August 14, 2020, submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the International Independent Investigation Commission on the Syrian Arab Republic outlined the findings of its investigations into the activities of the jihadist brigades operating under Turkish control in northern Syria, and highlighted “the commission of war crimes, looting, hostage-taking, torture and cruel treatment, rape and illegal deportation of protected persons to Turkey“.
These same jihadist brigades are now fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh to massacre and drive out the Armenian civilian population. They broadcast on social networks the summary executions of Armenian civilians and brandish, like a trophy, the severed heads of Armenian soldiers.
In its decision of October 6, 2020, the European Court of Human Rights, referring to Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention and exercising the prerogatives of Article 39 of the Convention’s Rules of Procedure, asked “all States directly or indirectly involved, including Turkey, to refrain from any act which would contribute to violations of the rights of the Convention”.
The offensive launched on 27 September 2020 by the Azerbaijani army, led by Turkish officers and assisted by jihadists, was well programmed to free itself from the Laws of War and to perpetrate new crimes against humanity and war crimes against civilian populations, in the genocidal logic implemented in 1915.
- Attacks deliberately targeting the Armenian civilian population.
The towns of Stepanakert, capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Martakert, Martuni, Hadrout, Askeran, Karmir Shuka, Taghavard, Gishi, Spitakashen, but also their neighboring villages, were deliberately targeted by artillery, drones and Azerbaijani aviation even though they did not constitute military objectives.
These bombings have caused the death of dozens of civilian victims, including children, as well as hundreds of injured people, including French, Russian and Armenian journalists. They intentionally targeted civilian property and infrastructure, destroyed residential housing, forcing the population to escape or live in the cellars of buildings, public buildings, schools, hospitals, food stores, as well as energy supply sources.
- Azerbaijan’s Use of Weapons Prohibited by the Laws of War
These attacks were carried out using the latest generation of weapons, particularly lethal ones, drones, “Smerch” rockets and cluster bombs, the use of which is strictly prohibited by the Laws of War.
In a statement published on October 7, 2020 on its website, Amnesty International denounced the use by the Azerbaijani side of “Israeli-made Mo95 DPICM cluster bombs, prohibited in all circumstances by international humanitarian law,” which fell on the residential areas of Stepanakert. The NGO states that “cluster bombs are weapons that, by their nature, are indiscriminate and inflict suffering on the civilian population for years after their use. They are therefore subject to an international ban under a treaty supported by more than 100 States (Convention signed in Dublin on May 29, 2008, also known as the Oslo Treaty). »
In addition to residential areas and civilian infrastructures, on October 8, 2020, the UAVs of the Azerbaijani army launched a two-stage air attack, to better optimize the number of victims, against the Armenian cathedral of the city of Shushi, built in the 19th century, a religious building eminently symbolic of the Armenian historical heritage in Karabakh.
The two humanitarian ceasefires of 10 and 17 October 2020, negotiated under the tutelage of Russia and France, were immediately and unilaterally broken by Azerbaijan, affirming its determination to achieve its war objective: the ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh.
To date, more than 90,000 Armenians have had to escape Nagorno-Karabakh to take refuge in Armenia. They will return only if Azerbaijan and Turkey are stopped in their criminal project of ethnic cleansing.
This exceptionally serious situation, the reality of which is not disputable, reveals the execution of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism, to the prejudice of the Armenian civilian population living in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
- The reproduction of unpunished crimes in 1915 requiring the immediate intervention of the UN Security Council
At the beginning of the 20th century, the government of Young Turks organized the genocide of Armenians to ensure the transformation of a multi-ethnic Ottoman empire into a Turkish nation-state.
A century later, Azerbaijan and Turkey opposed any recognition of the right to self-determination of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and decided to unite in order to empty Nagorno-Karabakh of its Armenian population through violence.
A century ago, the international community, despite its commitments under the never-implemented Treaty of Sèvres of August 10, 1920, renounced judging the crimes of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, leaving the Armenian genocide unpunished.
Today, the international community has the duty to stop Azerbaijan and Turkey from ethnically cleansing the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The international community must, from now on, take concrete actions in order to ensure that law and the demand for peace prevail over human rights crimes committed against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Even though Turkey and Azerbaijan have neither signed nor ratified the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Security Council is in a position to prosecute those responsible for the crimes committed in Nagorno-Karabakh since September 27, 2020.