Destruction of the historical quarter of Hadrut by armed Azerbaijanis

Warning! The video material contains swear and shows bodies of Armenian heroes. Our team apologizes to the readers for publishing it.

On October 9, 2021, the Telegram channel @bakinskiy_nord posted several videos, one of which captured the destroyed historic quarter of Hadrut in Artsakh - the houses of the old street are burnt down, the household utensils of various parts of the quarter damaged in the shelling are scattered around. The video recording, apparently, was made immediately after the occupation of Hadrut, therefore, one can see the Turkish-speaking armed soldiers indifferently strolling by the bodies of Armenian soldiers, continuing to walk along the streets of the destroyed city then and pronouncing offensive and obscene words.

Let be known, that the ruined, destroyed, and burned buildings visible in the video are the houses of the historical quarter "Yereh-Bazar" of Hadrut in Artsakh. These buildings due to their uniqueness were proposed to achieve the “cultural and historical reserve” status.

In this regard, in 2018-2019, the city administration took some steps. Work was carried out to determine the boundaries of the reserve, research of the layout of buildings was conducted and the preliminary results were presented. Two cemeteries are down that street. One of them is old, located at the bottom of the road leading to Taghaser, and the other is the modern cemetery of Hadrut.

The houses of the residential area of the town were mainly built in the 19th and 20th centuries on the bases of older ones. The church located in the historical quarter is Surb Harutyun, it was built in 1621. The first battles of the 44-day war began here, as a result of which the quarter and vault of the Surb Harutyun church were burned.

Photo 1 shows the historical quarter of the city of Hadrut before the war and its destruction, and the video shows the same street with houses, but already completely destroyed.

Our response

According to the 4th article of the 1954 Hague Convention "On the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict", any acts of theft, robbery, or misappropriation of cultural property in any form, and any acts of vandalism are prohibited.

According to the First Protocol of the 1954 Hague Convention, it is forbidden to destroy cultural or spiritual values ​​in the occupied territory. The Second Protocol of 1999 of the Hague Convention reaffirms these requirements and, according to the 15th article, defines the mentioned actions as an international crime.

Destruction of cultural property is prohibited by the Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949, for the Protection of War Victims, on the Laws and Customs of War, by four International conventions and protocols, and the relevant UN resolutions and treaties on the protection of human rights.

By the destruction of the historical quarter of Hadrut Azerbaijan violates the historicism of the city, the basic principles of its authenticity and integrity, contained in the Nara document of Authenticity, adopted in 1994 in Japan, the document, signed in 2017 by ICOMOS in New Delhi, as well as various documents of UNESCO and other international structures.

The fact of the authenticity of the cultural heritage should not be ignored (the Nara Document on Authenticity, paragraph 8), thus our ability to understand cultural values ​​depends on the reliability of information sources or on the degree of trust, which create the necessary basis for determining all aspects of authenticity and which make it possible to understand the type of cultural heritage, its characteristics, meaning, and history.