Within the framework of the fact-finding mission conducted since May 2016, the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh examined the facts of shelling of a border village of Talish (on February 24 and 25), as well as the events at the Martuni portion of the Artsakhi-Azerbaijani Line of Contact (at the night of February 24 to 25).
In particular, on March 2 a visit was made to Talish village as a fact-finding mission, which included interviews with representatives of the administration and the tiny civilian population living in Talish. In addition, basing on a video published in YouTube on February 26, an interview was conducted in regard to the events of the night of February 24 to 25 at the Martuni portion of the Artsakhi-Azerbaijani Line of Contact. The interviewee was an Artsakh Defence Army (ADA) serviceman, assigned to conduct video-monitoring.
As a result of the fact-finding mission in Talish, it was established that in the morning hours of February 24 and in the late evening hours of February 25, the Azerbaijani side fired a total of about 15 shells that exploded in the air and seriously endangered the inhabitants of the village. The main part of the shells exploded in the center of the village, near the school building. In other words, Azerbaijan carried out indiscriminate attacks towards civilian objects.
As a result of the interview on the events at the Artsakhi-Azerbaijani Line of Contact, it was established that Azerbaijani armed forces actually attempted to attack the soldiers protecting the state border of Artsakh (video recording is available via https://youtu.be/PGu1jUalsRA link). In case of achieving the goal, there was a large probability that atrocities similar to the war crimes committed during the 2016 April War would have been committed towards the ADA servicemen and civilian population. The aforementioned probability is self-evident, inter alia, due to gradually increasing level of Armenophobia in Azerbaijani society.
Thus, since February 26, Azerbaijani users of social media have begun actively distributing both the previously circulated and the newly-emerged photos and video recordings depicting war crimes committed during the 2016 April War by Azerbaijani armed forces. In a newly-emerged video recording, a soldier of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces actually makes a threat of "committing genocide" (0:07-0:21 seconds of the video recording). Moreover, all of the media materials that have been monitored by us, are ubiquitously accompanied by the obviously Armenophobic comments.
The cases of pre-organized atrocities committed by Azerbaijan during the 2016 April War have not yet been duly addressed by the international community, which serves to reinforce a perception of impunity for Azerbaijan. As a result, the events of February 24 and 25, 2017 at the Artsakhi-Azerbaijani Line of Contact appear to have a direct causal link with the events of April 2016.
Notice: The widespread cases of atrocities committed by Azerbaijan during the 2016 April War are thoroughly documented and published in three documents issued by Artsakh Human Rights Defender:
1. Interim Public Report on Atrocities Committed by Azerbaijani Military Forces against the Civilian Population of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Servicemen of the Nagorno Karabakh Defence Army on 2-5 April (22.04.2016)
2. Legal Assessment: Facts on Human Shielding and Use of Indiscriminate Attacks against the Civilian Population of Nagorno Karabakh by Azerbaijani Military Forces (02.05.2016)
3. Second Interim Report on Atrocities Committed by Azerbaijan during the 2016 April War (09.12.2016)
The Office of Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh
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