Destruction of Mount Hatis
In these difficult times of fight against the appropriation of the cultural heritage of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, you lose heart and feel discouraged realizing your compatriots have adopted the same Azerbaijani outrage.
It is impossible to look at the destruction of Mount Hatis without shuddering, which is being carried out with acceptance and permission of the Armenian authorities. This is a gross violation of the Armenian legislation on the protection of cultural heritage. Even a brief acquaintance with this legislation, the main elements of which are presented below, clearly demonstrates the ignorance, irresponsibility and gross violations made by the authorities.
The legislative and legal basis for the protection of monuments are the laws of the Government of the Republic of Armenia “On the protection and use of immovable monuments of history and culture and the historical environment” adopted on November 11, 1998, “On approval of the procedure for state registration, study, protection, fixation, repair, restoration and use immovable monuments of history and culture", adopted on April 20, 2002, as well as "On the fundamentals of cultural legislation" of November 20, 2002.
According to the 22nd article of the RA Law “On the Protection and Use of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture and the Historical Environment”, “the allocation of land for construction, agricultural and other types of work in areas that include monuments, development projects and engineering and transport communications are agreed in accordance with the established procedure with the authorized body.
If these works may pose a threat to the protection and preservation of monuments located in these territories, then preliminary measures are taken at the expense of the customer to ensure the protection and preservation of monuments - exploration, excavation, restoration work, and in exceptional cases - relocation and other work proposed by the authorized body”.
Subparagraph "b" of the 24th article determines the need to study, document, conserve and, in exceptional cases, move monuments during agricultural, construction and other work in the areas where monuments or their protected zones are located.
According to paragraph 33 of the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Armenia "On Approval of the Procedure for State Registration, Study, Conservation, Fixation, Repair, Restoration and Use of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture" adopted on April 20, 2002, in case if the territory is occupied by the monument, it is prohibited to use the monument for other purposes, to perform agricultural and other works, as well as economic and industrial activities. Only research, conservation, museumification and exposition organization of the monument, as well as restoration and repair work that contribute to the use of the monument for its intended purpose, can be carried out in this territory. According to paragraph 42 of this resolution, "projects of construction, road construction, geological and other works in the territories containing monuments are agreed with the authorized body at the stage of preparing the assignment for the design and feasibility study of new construction."
Since the fortress of the Bronze and Iron Age on the top of Mount Hatis (popular name is the Shamiram fortress, or Koroglu), as well as auxiliary buildings are not registered in the state list of monuments of the Republic of Armenia and are considered newly discovered monuments, then, according to the 20th article of the RA Law “On Protection and use of immovable monuments of history and culture and the historical environment”, “a newly discovered or newly assessed object of historical, scientific, artistic or other cultural value, receives the status of a newly discovered monument and is protected in accordance with the procedure established by law, until it is included in the state list of monuments.
A legal or natural person managing a newly discovered monument is obliged to ensure its safety, and in the event of its withdrawal by the state, the damage caused to the owner is compensated in accordance with the procedure established by law. A person who conceals the fact of finding a monument, creates obstacles to its registration and study, as well as destroys or appropriates the finds, is liable in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation of the Republic of Armenia.”
We would also like to mention that Mount Hatis was registered as a natural monument back in 2008 (according to Simon Maghakyan).
As Irina Ghaplanyan noted, Hatis has been recognized as a natural monument since 2008. The Law of the Republic of Armenia classifies natural monuments as follows: "a natural object of special scientific, historical, cultural and aesthetic value." According to the same law, “any activity in the territory of the natural monument of the Republic of Armenia threatening the conservation regime of natural museums is prohibited”.
Photo credits: Roberto Dan and Azatutyun TV.