Church in Hadrut neighborhood, losing its original appearance

  • by Western Armenia, July 14, 2023 in Patrimony

According to videos posted on the Internet by one of the Azerbaijani users, it can be seen that construction work is underway on the territory of the Kavakavank monastery complex located in the occupied Hadrut region.

This is reported by the website, which monitors Artsakh's cultural heritage. From October 12 to 14, 2020, intense fighting took place around Kavakavank, and the area was shelled. The Azerbaijani army used the church as a military base, as a result of which the structure's ornaments and Armenian inscriptions were considerably damaged or destroyed. There was no information on the state of the church after the 44-day war until these videos surfaced. We can see from the video that the church and its surroundings have been considerably damaged by enemy bombardment, with collapsed parts, fallen and scattered stones, and a damaged roof. This damage was not present before the 2020 war. 

The khachkar dedicated to the memory of the freedom fighters installed next to the church in 1995 has disappeared. It is very possible that the khachkar was destroyed by the Azerbaijani army. It should be noted that the Azerbaijani side does not even conceal its attitude towards the crosses, khachkars, various memorials and newly built churches erected on this side since 1994. The video shows that the Azerbaijani side has leveled the area around the church and carried out earthworks. Judging by the equipment seen in the video, a new tarmac road is being built right up to the church. Of greater concern are the works inside the church and on the porch. Judging by the video, the porch is considerably damaged, with the ornate moldings almost gone.

 And of course, the cheap propaganda trick, in Armenian circles, of calling the church built by Armenians in 1742 and bearing Armenian inscriptions a church.

Our answer.

It should be noted that, according to "On the Protection of Cultural Values in the Event of Armed Conflict" of The Hague in 1954. convention and its supplement, 1954 and in 1999 protocols, it is forbidden to use the cultural value defined by the convention for military purposes. Article 6 of the Second Hague Protocol of 1999 prohibits the transformation of cultural values into military objects, or their use for purposes which might expose them to the risk of destruction or damage. And according to points c and d of Article 15 of the Second Protocol, such an act qualifies as a war crime.

It should be noted that in 2021, the International Court of Justice in The Hague made a decision on December 7, stating that the desecration of Armenian churches was prohibited. "Azerbaijan is obligated to take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration committed against Armenian cultural heritage."

Furthermore, according to PACE Resolution 2583, the denial of the fact regarding Armenian cultural values and their connection to the Aghvans was recognized as an "Azerbaijani fabrication."