During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, both the Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries purposely attacked the local civilian population, and not just opposing armed forces.
That’s according to a report by London-based human rights NGO Amnesty International, which revealed that both sides conducted “disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks” in residential areas, “unlawfully killing scores of civilians and wounding hundreds more.”
“Both the Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities have denied launching indiscriminate strikes against civilian areas and using cluster munitions—despite incontrovertible evidence that they have both done so,” it said.
According to Amnesty, which carried out on-the-ground investigations in November and December, the vast number of strikes indicates that they were “not accidental,” and may instead have been part of a “deliberate strategy aimed at pressuring and intimidating the other side.”
“Neither government can credibly claim to have not been aware that strikes on civilian residential areas using notoriously inaccurate or/and inherently indiscriminate weapons endangered civilians,” it says.
In researching the report, Amnesty spoke to eyewitnesses and victims of ten attacks on Azerbaijani settlements, including a strike on Ganja, which left 21 dead. On the Armenian side, it found no similar cases of mass death, but frequent Azerbaijani shelling of Karabakh killed more than 50 civilians.
In conclusion, the report calls on Baku and Yerevan to “impartially investigate reported violations of international humanitarian law,” suggesting that they “provide full and adequate reparations to all victims.”
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh re-escalated on September 27. The dispute is decades old, with both countries believing they have legitimate claims to the territory. The region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is primarily populated by ethnic Armenians. Baku considers the enclave to be illegally occupied by Yerevan, which still controls a large amount of its land.
On November 9, Moscow oversaw a ceasefire between the two parties, which determined that Azerbaijan could keep the areas of Nagorno-Karabakh regained during the conflict. Armenia also agreed to withdraw from neighboring regions. Furthermore, Russian peacekeeping troops were deployed to the line of contact.
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