The enemy destroyed the school, the Cultural center and the memorial in Madatashen village, and endangered the Church of Surb Astvatsatsin

According to satellite photographs obtained on October 10, 2021, the enemy destroyed the school in Madatashen village of Askeran region and reached the church located nearby, endangering it (Fig. 1). In 2015, the school was renamed into Madatashen SNCO School. The administration of the village and the Cultural center moved into that building as well. The Madatashen Cultural Center was founded in 1969 and renovated in 2012 (watch video from 8:11).

Next to the church there was a memorial dedicated to the victims of the liberation war in Artsakh (Fig. 2). It was also destroyed immediately after the occupation of the village by the enemy. The video distributed by the Azerbaijani side, is showing how the Azerbaijani soldier breaks, ruins and destroys the memorial to the heroes of the Artsakh liberation war, crashing their portraits, and delightfully poses in front of the destroyed cultural heritage. The репортаж (from 1:00), made before the occupation, confirms that the school and the monument were still intact then.

The history of the village of Madatashen dates back to the middle of the 17th century and bears the name of the general of the Russian army Valerian Madatov, whose stables were located in this area. The rural community of Madatashen is located in the southern part of the Republic of Artsakh at 50 km of distance from the regional center (Askeran) and 24 km far from the capital, Stepanakert. The local Surb Astvatsatsin church was built in 1604 (from 3:45). The wall and ceiling of the church are damaged.

The school, the Cultural center and the church are not included in the highway construction plan, thus it is possible that as a result of the destruction, the stones of these objects are being used as building materials for the road supports.

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 this requirements and, according to the 15th article regarding 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.