Desecration and Destruction of Memorial Complex Honoring Victims in Hakaku Village, Artsakh
On January 15, 2024, a video captured by Azerbaijani soldiers at the start of the year was shared on several Armenian Telegram channels. In the footage, they are seen in proximity to the memorial built in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in the self-defense of the village during the First Artsakh War in Hakaku village (https://t.me/ararathau/21061?fbclid=IwAR1gVRoK9UZnpb83H66qEV73x6jeY4MTDz1Q5TCQPt79uGOFM8F11SXV60w).
The video depicts the desecration of commemorative plaques, with Azerbaijani military personnel brandishing assault rifles, and using profanity while displaying the damaged plaques. The soldiers are seen manipulating and striking the broken parts, moving around with rifles while closely engaging with the vandalized memorial plaques. Additionally, some plaques bear evidence of gunfire damage.
The video does not provide a clear timeline for when the memorial was desecrated, making it challenging to determine the exact timing of the incident. Given that Azerbaijani military personnel are reportedly stationed in various locations in the Hadrut region of occupied Artsakh, it raises the possibility that they have been involved in the desecration of the complex.
In accordance with the Hague Convention of 1954, which serves as the foundation for various international treaties, its first article defines cultural property as "The movable or immovable heritage of great importance to every people, irrespective of origin or ownership. This includes monuments of architecture, art, or history, regardless of their religious or secular nature." Article 4 of the 1954 Hague Convention prohibits acts such as vandalism, theft, robbery, misappropriation, hostilities, and reprisals against cultural heritage during armed conflict. Additionally, the first Hague Protocol of 1954 forbids the destruction of cultural or spiritual values in occupied territories.