Statement on the Complete Blocking of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan in Violation of International Obligations

21.06.2023

For the seventh day now, since 15 June, Azerbaijan has completely blocked the delivery of all types of humanitarian cargo to the Republic of Artsakh through the Lachin Corridor, including food and medicine, carried out by the Russian peacekeeping forces and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), thereby deliberately depriving the 120,000 population of Artsakh, including women,  children and the elderly, of the minimum means of subsistence.

We emphasise that the complete and arbitrary blocking of the Lachin Corridor, in particular the  deliberate obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian cargo by the Russian peacekeeping forces and the ICRC for the basic needs of the people of Artsakh under siege, is considered a war crime under international law. In essence, Azerbaijan has gone from blatant violation of the provisions of the Trilateral Statement of 9 November 2020 and complete disregard for the legally binding Order of the International Court of Justice of 22 February 2023 to actions that amount to a war crime.

We recall that the Lachin Corridor, envisaged by the Trilateral Statement of the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan dated 9 November 2020, which establishes, inter alia, the exclusive control of the Corridor by the Russian peacekeeping forces, has been functioning for the past six months with severe and arbitrary restrictions imposed by Azerbaijan and was used only for the passage of vehicles of the ICRC and the Russian peacekeeping forces. On 15 June, after a deliberate provocation with the Azerbaijani flag on the Hakari bridge, Azerbaijan completely closed the Corridor, including by blocking the road with armoured vehicles. Thus, movement in both directions through the Corridor has now been blocked for representatives of the ICRC and the Russian peacekeeping forces, who delivered essential supplies to the Republic of Artsakh.

The complete blockade and isolation of the Republic of Artsakh from the outside world exacerbate the humanitarian crisis and prepare fertile ground for the escalation of Azerbaijan's ongoing crimes against humanity into the crime of genocide. By completely blocking the Lachin Corridor, which is the only Road of Life for the people of Artsakh, Azerbaijan has actually taken its targeted policy of ethnic cleansing of Artsakh and destruction of its people as such to a new level.

There is no doubt that the initial purpose of the illegal establishment of Azerbaijani control over the Lachin Corridor was its subsequent blockade and use as a means of conducting its aggressive and genocidal policy against the people of Artsakh. In fact, the Lachin Corridor, originally intended to connect Artsakh with the outside world and as one of the guarantees of the normal life activity of its people, is used by Azerbaijan as a military-political tool to carry out aggressive actions against the Republic of Artsakh and its citizens.

The deliberate starvation of 120,000 people, including women, children and the elderly, inflicting unbearable daily suffering on them, as well as imposing Azerbaijan's own will with the use or threat of force, requires the international community to take urgent and effective enforcement measures aimed at preventing massive violations of rights of the people of Artsakh.

We strongly demand that all responsible members of the international community take the necessary collective and individual measures to stop the ongoing international crimes committed by Azerbaijan, and to prevent a catastrophe threatening the people of Artsakh with genocide. We also consider it timely for the ICRC and other relevant international structures and human rights organisations to properly and adequately assess the situation and urge the Azerbaijani authorities to respect the right of the people of Artsakh to humanitarian assistance and international protection. We note that inaction and indifference in fact encourage Azerbaijan's genocidal actions.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email