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Armenian armed forces' shelling of Azerbaijani city of Ganja - gross violation of international humanitarian law - expert

14 October 2020 [13:10] - TODAY.AZ

By Trend

The shelling of the Azerbaijani city of Ganja by the Armenian armed forces is a gross violation of international humanitarian law, Kamal Makili-Aliyev, Affiliated researcher, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (Lund, Sweden), Senior Lecturer in International Law and Human Rights, Malmö University (Sweden) told Trend.

"In accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law, the civilian population cannot be the target of an attack by anyone, including the army and armed formations. This means that any military operations should not be planned or carried out using armed forces against the civilian population." Makili-Aliev notes.

According to him, the civilian population should be protected in the conduct of hostilities, not only from their own army but also from the enemy's army. The enemy is not only obliged not to attack the civilian population but also to take measures to protect it from hostilities. Therefore, actions associated with a targeted attack on the civilian population, including missile strikes on places of compact residence of the civilian population in cities, as in the case of Ganja, is a direct violation of international humanitarian law, and not only the norms of the 1949 Geneva Conventions but also additional protocols to them.

As Makili-Aliyev noted, these norms are the norms of international customary humanitarian law and they apply to any state, regardless of whether it has acceded to the Geneva Conventions or not. These are the rules and customs of warfare, and, in any case, actions that violate them entail prosecution.

"This responsibility is divided into two types - state and individual. This means that the state bears separate responsibility for war crimes, and individuals, that is, the military or politicians who ordered an attack on the civilian population, are individually responsible for this in accordance with norms of international humanitarian law, "he said.

According to Makili-Aliyev, the individual responsibility that individuals bear is criminal, and the state's responsibility is to admit its mistake and pay compensation to the injured. In any case, bringing to both types of liability is carried out when the case is being considered in court. After the end of the conflict, this issue should be considered in the plane of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The problem is that neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia acceded to the Rome Statute, within the framework of which the International Criminal Court was organized, because, within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, it cannot automatically administer justice for any alleged crime. This requires one of the following mechanisms that use this right: one of the participating States sends the relevant materials to the court prosecutor; the request comes from the UN Security Council; The ICC prosecutor initiates an investigation against any participating State on his own initiative. In this case, only the second option can be used.

As he noted, taking into account the realities confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights (for example, the case "Chiragov v. Armenia"), it can be said with a high degree of confidence that Armenia, as a state, and its actors, who grossly violated norms of international humanitarian law. However, this can only be confirmed by a competent court.

"Based on the current situation, attacks on the civilian population are related to the fact that the Armenian armed forces continue to occupy the Azerbaijani territories, and in this regard, all actions of the separatists and the Armenian army look completely coordinated," he concluded.


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