A memorandum authored by the Artsakh Foreign Ministry dispelling the myth and falsifications being advanced by Azerbaijan about the incidents in Khojalu during the Karabakh war was circulated in the United Nations last week.
The document argues that the actions of the Artsakh Republic self-defense forces, aimed at neutralizing the shelling and firing positions of the Azerbaijani armed forces located in Khojalu, as well as at lifting the blockade of the Stepanakert airport, were determined by absolute military necessity and in line with the norms and principles of international humanitarian law.
On the contrary, the Azerbaijani side committed gross violations of a number of norms of international humanitarian law during the above-mentioned events. In particular, the authorities of Azerbaijan decided not to evacuate the civilian population in order to maintain their military-strategic position. Using the civilians as human shields by the Azerbaijani armed forces to provide shelter for themselves is not only a gross violation of international humanitarian law, but also, according to Article 8 (2) (b) (xxiii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, amounts to a war crime.
The tragic outcome of the following circumstances – the deliberate violation of international humanitarian law by the Azerbaijani side, the struggle for power in Azerbaijan and the resulting lack of unity of command among the Azerbaijani armed forces – led to human losses, despite all the protective measures taken by the Artsakh self-defense forces, including, in particular, early warning of the operation and provision of humanitarian corridors.
Azerbaijan continues to carry out a policy of falsifications and misinformation, spreading false allegations about the events that occurred during the liberation of Khojalu from the Azerbaijani armed units with the aim of escalating anti-Armenian hysteria and cultivating hatred towards Armenians in the Azerbaijani society.