Azerbaijanis Reportedly Damage Historical Khachkar Monument in Martakert City
On January 7, 2024, the "Artsakh Monuments" team, our partnering organization, officially confirmed the destruction of a khachkar monument on Daniel Varuzhan Street in the city of Martakert, Artsakh, which is currently under occupation (https://www.facebook.com/artsakh.monuments/). The Khachkar monument, erected in October 2021 on Daniel Varuzhan Street in Martakert, Artsakh, stood as a memorial to honor the memory of Harut Babayan and Garik Mnatsakanyan, who lost their lives during the war.
On December 16, 2023, our team discovered that the Arxiv TV Qarabag page, through the lens of a certain Shakir Mammadov, documented a 24-minute video capturing a car's rotation in the city of Martakert. Notably, the image of the destroyed khachkar becomes visible at the 3:41-minute mark in the footage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_adHIqyHUA). The YouTube channel in question hosts numerous videos recorded in occupied Artsakh, featuring content from various internet users.
Additionally, in 2021, a khachkar monument was erected in the region known as Simon's Spring. The spring, originally constructed in the 1960s, underwent improvements in 2021 concurrent with the installation of the Khachkar monument.
Per Article 4 of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflict, any act of vandalism, theft, robbery, misappropriation, hostility, or reprisal against cultural heritage is strictly prohibited. As per the First Hague Protocol of 1954, the destruction of cultural or spiritual values in occupied territories is expressly forbidden. The Second Hague Protocol of 1999 reaffirms this prohibition and designates such acts as international crimes under Article 15. Actions to destroy cultural values are also prohibited by four international conventions and protocols on the protection of victims of war, laws, and customs of war of Geneva of August 12, 1949, as well as relevant UN resolutions and human rights treaties.