Destruction of Zoravor Surb Astvatsatsin Church in Mekhakavan

On March 25, 2021, BBC World News spread information that the Christian church located in Mekhakavan (Jabrayil), which came under the supervision of Azerbaijan after the Second Artsakh War, no longer exists (source - The investigation carried out by the BBC journalist Jonah Fischer once again proves that the Azerbaijani propaganda is aimed at the complete destruction of the Armenian heritage.

The construction of the Church of Zoravor Surb Astvatsatsin (Mother of God) was started in 2013 and completed in 2017. The Consecration of a church was performed the same year ( The construction was financed by the philanthropist Grigor Movsisyan. The solemn ceremony of consecration of the new church was carried out by Bishop Vrtanes Abrahamyan, the spiritual head of the AF RA. The main purpose of construction of the church was creating a temple for soldiers, officers and their families.It is an obvious fact that the destruction of the church took place after the end of the war, which contradicts the official statement of the Azerbaijani media that the church was destroyed during armed hostilities. This is evidenced by the BBC journalist J. Fischer, who filmed the church after the war. Moreover, the Zoravor Surb Astvatsatsin church was being desecrated by Azerbaijani soldiers before its complete destruction (Fig. 1).

Destruction and Ruination of Cultural Heritage

The Article 4 of the Hague Convention of 1954 for the “Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict” prohibits any act of vandalism, theft, robbery or embezzlement and imposes an absolute ban on acts of retaliation against cultural property. The Second Hague Protocol of 1999 that also refers to the cases of non-international (ethnic) conflicts prohibits any act of hostility and retaliation against inheritance, which is classified as an international crime by Article 15.

The acts of destruction of Cultural Heritage are also prohibited by four international Conventions and Protocols approved in Geneva on August 12th, 1949 referring to the protection of the war victims, laws and customs of war, as well as by the relevant UN commission on human rights.