“Hundreds of bullets fired”: details of the death of Armenian policemen in NK
Details of the death of NK policemen
“The President of Azerbaijan stated at the Munich Security Conference that he is ready to discuss with the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh the issue of their rights and security. Meanwhile, three citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh, who were born and raised their families there, were victims of a terrorist attack that took place a few days ago,” the Prime Minister of Armenia said in a statement..
On the morning of March 5, information was received that “an Azerbaijani sabotage group fired at a car carrying staff of the passport and visa department of the NKR police.” The incident took place in an area called Hypalu. Three policemen were killed, one was wounded in the chest. Azerbaijan has officially announced two casualties of its own.
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Report of the Ombudsman: “It was a pre-planned action”
The Office of the Defender of Human Rights of the NK prepared an extraordinary report “On the terrorist attack committed by a sabotage group of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces” and sent it to international human rights organizations.
The conclusion — a “pre-planned terrorist act” had been carried out.
The report states that “the statements of the Azerbaijani side about the transfer of weapons and ammunition from Armenia to Artsakh are unfounded and false,” and that the only weapons in the car were their service weapons.
“About 30-40 minutes after the exit, those in the car noticed stones laid out on the carriageway that prevented them from passing, and the car stopped. Five Azerbaijanis, dressed in military uniforms, wearing masks, armed with machine guns, came out from behind the stones and pointed their guns at the car.”
According to the report, ten more people then joined the group and shooting at the car began, which lasted for ten minutes:
“External examination of the car shows that the Azerbaijani group fired hundreds of bullets at the car.”
The surviving policeman said that the Azerbaijanis did not open the “door of the back of the car,” and so did not notice there was another man there.
“Then the members of the sabotage group began to retreat from the scene of the crime to their military positions located at the opposite height. They suffered some wounded and casualties. Approximately 30-40 minutes after the attack, the Russian peacekeeping contingent arrived at the scene. After their intervention, the firefight ceased,” the report says.
Pashinyan: “Azerbaijan creates a backdrop for a new military provocation”
It is not the first time that Pashinyan has called the March 5 incident a “terrorist act”. In his opinion, there are several reasons for this provocation by Azerbaijan:
- “the disruption of further negotiations with representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh and the creation of the necessary background for a new military provocation,
- creating false evidence about the transfer of weapons and ammunition from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh,
- the formation of new discourses, information flows in order to veil the failure to comply with the decision of the Hague Court.
On February 22, the International Court of Justice issued a decision obliging Azerbaijan to “take all measures in its power to ensure the uninterrupted movement of people, vehicles and goods along the Lachin corridor in both directions.” The Lachin corridor has been blocked since December 12, 2022 by a group of Azerbaijanis posing as environmental activists.
Pashinyan recalled that Azerbaijan has long accused Armenia of mining and transporting mines to the territory of NK. However, the Hague court twice rejected Baku’s request to “stop mining and transporting mines through the Lachin corridor”, explaining that Azerbaijan did not provide sufficient evidence.
According to Pashinyan, “groundless allegations about mines have collapsed” and now Baku is trying to present the March 5 incident as “proof of the transfer of weapons from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.”
He says this attempt didn’t work for two reasons:
- “The police UAZ was not going to the capital of NK, but, on the contrary, left from there,
- Azerbaijan’s attack and the route of the police car were recorded by the cameras of the Nagorno-Karabakh Ministry of Internal Affairs, and it is obvious that there was nothing in the car except documents and service weapons.”
According to Pashinyan, Azerbaijan’s actions are aimed at further aggravating the situation.
“It is becoming increasingly urgent to immediately send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin corridor to prevent Azerbaijan’s obvious preparations to unleash a new aggression and subject the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to ethnic cleansing and genocide,” he said.
“Concrete international consequences are needed”
Eleven NGOs in Armenia issued a statement claiming that the March 5 incident could have happened “only at the direction of the highest leadership of Azerbaijan”:
“This is also confirmed by the fact that instead of providing an independent investigation into what happened, official Baku offered its own narrative to justify the killings, presenting them as a response to an attempt to ‘transport military equipment, ammunition and personnel from Yerevan to Artsakh.’ “
According to the NGOs, as long as fact-finding missions will not go to the site, such incidents will be repeated. They also say that the President of Azerbaijan “ignores the international community”:
“In fact, this means that there is not enough condemnation from the international community. Concrete international consequences are needed in relation to Azerbaijan and the officials representing it.”
NGOs maintain that there are early signs not only of a military escalation, but also of “ethnic cleansing intent in the region.” Representatives of civil society believe that if there is no timely and proper response, very soon “Artsakh will be included in the list of human tragedies as another failure of the international community.”
They expect international partners to take political and legal measures, and oblige Azerbaijan
- “to ensure the access of the UN fact-finding mission to the Lachin corridor and Artsakh,
- unconditionally comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice,
- immediately identify those who committed the murder on March 5, 2023 and bring them to justice.”
According to NGO representatives, if these requirements are not met, international partners “should use the legal instruments at their disposal, effective mechanisms to protect the inalienable right to life of the citizens of Artsakh.”
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Details of the death of NK policemen