Azerbaijanis Destroyed Monument and Khachkar Commemorating Artsakh Liberation War in Ukhtadzor Village, Hadrut Region of Artsakh
On September 7, 2023, a video was circulated on one of the Telegram channels, clearly demonstrating the ongoing destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in the Hadrut region, which is now under Azerbaijani occupation (https://t.me/ararathau/19507?single&fbclid=IwAR0Crc8U1N4KsZivdOcLe7WJDSV2rbiww-KEoCDXIC6Ih8SPrBqoxI2OSjg).
The video provides clear evidence of the destruction of the monument dedicated to the Artsakh Liberation War in the village of Ukhtadzor in the Hadrut region of Artsakh. The monument was knocked to the ground, and individual parts of it were smashed. It's worth noting that back in 2021, the same cultural complex suffered damage due to Azerbaijani vandalism, destroying a khachkar (https://t.me/ararathau/19507?single&fbclid=IwAR0Crc8U1N4KsZivdOcLe7WJDSV2rbiww-KEoCDXIC6Ih8SPrBqoxI2OSj). These actions, which are part of a continuous and coordinated chain, provide compelling evidence that the destruction of cultural heritage is a well-defined strategy employed by Azerbaijan.
In the framework of international humanitarian law, cultural heritage is considered a one-of-a-kind representation of human ingenuity and creative thought. Any harm or destruction that it faces infringes on the cultural rights of individuals and communities, not only during wartime but also in its aftermath.
Article 8 of the International Criminal Court identifies the destruction of cultural heritage in occupied territories as an international war crime: "It is prohibited to deliberately target structures dedicated to religion, education, art, science, or charitable purposes, as well as historical monuments and hospitals unless they are military targets https://www.icc-cpi.int/resource-library/documents/rs -eng.pdf".
The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage in occupied territories during and after armed conflicts is also prohibited by the "Declaration on the Deliberate Destruction of Cultural Heritage," which was adopted by UNESCO in 2003.https://international-review.icrc.org/sites/default/files/irrc_854_unesco_eng.pdf.
Article 9 of the Second Protocol of 1999 to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict also prohibits acts of destruction of cultural property in areas under enemy control:http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=15207&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html.