Witnesses Condemn Methods in Achieving Integration in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
In a recent hearing, witnesses expressed strong condemnation for the methods employed in pursuing the goal of integration into Azerbaijan in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They raised concerns about the potential consequences, particularly in terms of genocide and the erasure of cultural and religious heritage.
Smith’s Condemnation of Genocidal Means: One of the notable voices in the hearing was that of Smith, who emphatically stated that regardless of one’s stance on the integration goal, employing genocide as a means to achieve it is completely unacceptable. Smith criticized the government of Azerbaijan for failing to work towards a solution that would address the legitimate fears of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. These fears revolve around the notion that integration could lead to their genocide or ethnic cleansing.
David L. Phillips on Blockade’s Genocidal Intent: David L. Phillips, an adjunct professor specializing in conflict resolution and mediation at Georgetown University, left no room for doubt when he asserted that Azerbaijan’s blockade of resources into Nagorno-Karabakh is undeniably genocidal in nature. According to Phillips, these actions are designed to not only erase the physical presence of Armenians but also eradicate their religious and cultural heritage in Artsakh and, potentially, the Republic of Armenia. This has resulted in a significant reduction in the historical territory of Armenia and the unfortunate elimination of its Christian population and churches.
Luis Moreno Ocampo on Recognizing Genocidal Intentions: Former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, supported this viewpoint. While acknowledging Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s right to defend his actions in a criminal court, Ocampo asserted that, at this stage, there is no doubt about the presence of genocidal intentions. He highlighted the multifaceted nature of genocide, emphasizing that it does not necessarily require mass casualties or gas chambers. According to international law, creating conditions conducive to the destruction of a specific group constitutes genocide. Ocampo argued that blockading the Lachin corridor is precisely the kind of condition that can lead to such destruction.
The Need to Confront Denial: In conclusion, Ocampo stressed the importance of acknowledging the harsh reality. He underlined that the first step in addressing the issue is to remove the denial that surrounds it. Recognizing the severity of the situation and the conditions created by actions like blockading the Lachin corridor is vital in tackling the complex challenges posed by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.