Three years ago, in the early morning of April 2, the Azerbaijani side, grossly violating the ceasefire regime established by the May 12, 1994 agreement on full cease-fire and cessation of hostilities, launched a war along the entire border with Artsakh. Employing heavy equipment, artillery and military aircrafts, the Azerbaijani armed forces shelled not only the advanced positions of the Defense Army of the Republic of Artsakh, but also peaceful settlements, causing casualties, also among civilians. Only four days later, on April 5, 2016, Azerbaijan, suffering considerable losses, was forced to ask for the cessation of hostilities through Russia’s mediation.
The scale and intensity of offensive actions, the number of military equipment and manpower involved, as well as the statements of the Azerbaijani authorities indicate that the April events were nothing more than a pre-planned military aggression. Azerbaijan planned to seize the entire territory of Artsakh and thereby resolve the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict by force, but these plans were thwarted due to the decisive actions of the Artsakh Defense Army.
The actions of the Azerbaijani armed forces were accompanied by gross violations of international humanitarian law and by war crimes. Artsakh’s foreign ministry had worked consistently towards bringing the inhumane atrocities to the attention of the international community, including specialized structures and agencies. Being sure that such crimes do not have a statute of limitations, the Republic of Artsakh will continue to make efforts to bring those responsible to justice.
Three years have passed since the end of the hostilities, but it is still urgent to take international political and diplomatic measures to deter the aggressive ambitions of Azerbaijan for ensuring the complete implementation of the May 12, 1994 and February 6, 1995 agreements. It is also necessary to establish international mechanisms for monitoring the ceasefire regime, and especially through the implementation of the agreements reached in Vienna and St. Petersburg after the April War.
The Republic of Artsakh reiterates that in case of Azerbaijan's attempt to resolve the conflict by force, all the necessary self-defense measures will be taken in line with the UN Charter to protect the rights of its citizens to live freely and securely in their homeland.