Publication Date 08.03.2023
In the period after the Trilateral Statement on Ceasefire, signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation on November 9, 2020, the Azerbaijani side has repeatedly grossly violated the provisions of the Statement, resorting to military escalation, disrupting the normal life and activity of the civilian population of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), initiating physical and psychological attacks and violence against the population, disrupting the vital infrastructures and agricultural works.
In the period following the establishment of the ceasefire, more than 150 cases of criminal acts against the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) by the Azerbaijani armed forces have been recorded, as a result of which 21 people were killed (6 civilians, 15 militaries), 166 people were subjected to attempted murder (79 civilians, 87 militaries), 71 people (20 civilians) were injured and subjected to physical violence. Azerbaijanis stole vehicles, residential buildings were subjected to direct fire from different firearms, agricultural equipment, and vehicles were damaged or destroyed, small and large cattle were stolen from the civilian population, and gardens were set on fire.
Moreover, to suppress, psychologically, and physically intimidate the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), since December 12, 2022, under the fake pretext of protecting the environment, Azerbaijani government agents have blocked Goris-Stepanakert highway - the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia and the external world, which passes through the Lachin corridor defined by the Trilateral Statement. The blockade has led to gross violations of basic human rights: an adequate standard of living, freedom of movement, right to healthcare, education, and many other rights.
Under the conditions of an 86-day-long blockade, the Azerbaijani side began to regularly resort to armed attacks from the end of February and the beginning of March.
On February 28, 2023, at about 16:55, shots from rifles of various calibers were fired from Azerbaijani combat positions at 53-year-old A.Avanesyan from the village of Myurishen, Martuni region, who was engaged in agricultural work with a Jonder tractor in the area called “Asfalten tak” of the administrative district of the village of Berdashen. As a result, agricultural work was stopped.
On March 1, 2023, in the area called “Davala” of the village of Berdashen, the Azerbaijani side opened fire from small arms at 59-year-old S. Vardanyan from the Berdashen community who was performing agricultural work on a Belarus tractor. Agricultural work was forced to stop.
On March 5, 2023, the Azerbaijani side resorted to a new terrorist act, in particular, an ambush group of the Azerbaijani armed forces crossed the line of contact defined by the Trilateral Statement of the Armed Forces of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Azerbaijan and attacked the car of the Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh, driving from Stepanakert along a road about 1km from the contact line.
The Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh has constantly and consistently informed the representatives of international organizations and the human rights community about the regularly committed crimes of the Azerbaijani side, demanding that necessary measures should be taken to purposefully assess the situation and introduce real mechanisms to protect the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). However, despite all the alarms, the situation remains tense, threatening the life, health, physical and psychological integrity, and fundamental rights of 120.000 people of Artsakh.
The ongoing blockade of Azerbaijan, as well as the regular and consistent armed attacks, aim at subjecting Artsakh to ethnic cleansing through physical and psychological intimidation, creating unbearable conditions and destroying the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh.
This report presents the facts and information collected by the staff of the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Artsakh from competent authorities and open sources regarding the terrorist activities carried out by the Azerbaijani armed forces ambush group on March 5, 2023. The details of the incident were clarified through an interview with the only survivor of the car, the injured Davit Ashot Hovsepyan, as well as through the analysis of available videos.
The report was prepared in open and closed versions in Armenian and English languages.