Baku Destroyed the Foundation of Berdzor St. Hambardzum  Church

  • by Western Armenia, May 15, 2024 in Culture
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A few days ago, another case of cultural vandalism in azerbaijan was spread by our partner, the Foundation for the Study of Armenian Architecture, which was also documented on azerbaijani telegram channels.

This time, azerbaijan destroyed the Holy Church of Hambardzum  in Berdzor, the construction of which was completed in 1998, and the dome cross was consecrated on May 31 of the same year. The architect of the church was Hrachya Gasparyan, and the construction was led by Georgi Arakelyan. The authors of the artistic decoration of the church were the famous sculptor Artashes Hovsepyan, the painter Karo Mkrtchyan, the woodworker Vano Dadoyan.

According to Article 4 of the 1954 Hague Convention "On the Protection of Cultural Property in the Time of Armed Conflict" and additionally Article 15, Point A of the Second Protocol adopted in 1999, the damage done to the Holy Church of Hambardzum  in Berdzor, is a "serious violation" which, as war crime, can be prosecuted in international courts.

The deliberate destruction of the Church also violates Article 8 of the Rome Statute and is considered a grave crime against humanity.

The destruction of the Holy Church  Hambardzum  in Berdzor,  is also a genocidal act (ICC, Policy on Cultural Heritage, para. 88). The Handbook for the Examination of the Cultural Heritage Provisions of the Rome Statute states: "Crimes against or affecting cultural heritage are often linked to or committed as part of genocide" (ICC, Policy on Cultural Heritage, para. 78). In addition to physical damage, the destruction of the Holy Church  Hambardzum  in Berdzor, leaves deep emotional and cultural consequences, being considered a gross violation of the right to the culture of  Armenians from Artsakh and all Armenians.

The first universal guarantee of cultural rights is defined by the Declaration "On Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms" in its Article 27: "Everyone has the right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, to participate in scientific progress and its benefits."

 In addition, Article 4 of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and Paragraph 4 of Human Rights Council Resolution 10/23 state that "...no one may violate the human rights guaranteed by international law, nor limit their scope.

Likewise, no one should be excluded from access to cultural practices, values” (Paragraph 22, https://www.refworld.org/docid/4ed35bae2.html).

The destruction of the church is also a gross violation of the cultural rights of creative individuals: architects, builders, sculptors.