The Azerbaijani army continues to vandalize the chapel built by members of the “Union of Veterans of the Arvakh War” organization in the village of Mataghis in Artsakh, occupied by Baku, as well as the surrounding crosses.
The shrine is named after Saint Gregory the Illuminator, it was supposed to serve both faithful soldiers and locals. Khachkars bearing the names of boys who died during the April 2016 war were placed around the chapel. The opening and consecration ceremony of the new chapel took place in December 2017.
In the video shared by the Ararat Telegram channel: it is clearly seen how the soldier carrying the Azerbaijani flag on his back first hits the Armenian khachkars with heavy stones, and then throws them to the ground with his foot. And this is the case when “The art of Armenian khachkars. The symbolism and know-how of stone crosses have been included since 2010 on the “List of Intangible Cultural Heritage” adopted by UNESCO in 2003.
According to the principles of the Second Protocol adopted in 1999, additional to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the entire Khachkar culture benefits from reinforced protection and any damage to it is caused will be considered in accordance with Article 15(a) of the Protocol to constitute a “serious violation” which can be prosecuted in international courts as a war crime.
This is confirmed by Article 10 of the aforementioned protocol on “Enhanced Protection of Cultural Values”, according to which cultural heritage of the greatest importance for humanity should be under enhanced protection, and UNESCO, in fact, since 2010, considers the entire Khachkar culture belongs to humanity. Outstanding overall value for According to Article 12 of the Protocol, in the occupied territories, the State Party to the Protocol, Azerbaijan, must guarantee the inviolability of cultural values under enhanced protection, refraining from making these values l subject to attacks or reprisals.
On this occasion, it is necessary to remember that the damage caused to the cultural values of each nation constitutes a blow to the cultural heritage of all humanity, because each nation has its own contribution to global cultural diversity.