BRUSSELS—In response to an urgent written question sent to the European Commission by Member of the European Parliament Loucas Fourlas, the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell stated that the European Commission deplores the damages caused to Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots Cathedral by the Azerbaijani armed forces.
In the urgent written question Fourlas, a member of the European Parliament from Cyprus, mentioned that the Azerbaijani armed forces targeted and attacked Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots Cathedral on October 8, 2020, in violation of international rules of war. Fourlas asked the European Commission whether the latter is planning to take steps “to protect both the civilian population and places of worship” in Artsakh/ Nagorno Karabakh that are currently under the Azerbaijani control.
Responding the Fourlas, the European Commission stated that it deplores the destruction of religious and historic monuments in Nagorno Karabakh and underlines the importance of preserving and restoring the cultural and religious heritage.
Furthermore, in his response Borrell referred to the of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347 (2017), which defines war crimes, targeting of the religious, educational and cultural centers.
The European Commission also welcomed the mission initiated by UNESCO to the regions of Nagorno Karabakh currently under the Azerbaijani control aimed at establishing a first factual assessment of the Armenian cultural heritage. It will also contribute to supporting the preservation and restoration of the cultural sites.
“Azerbaijan has to bear full responsibility for the gruesome war crimes committed during and after the 2020 war in Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh, including targeting civilian settlements as well as religious sites i.a. the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi,” said Kaspar Karampetian, the President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy.
“Shushi has undeniably been a historical Armenian city, an important center for culture and education, and the symbol of the Armenian revival of Artsakh. The international community and the relevant organizations must closely follow and monitor the preservation of the Armenian religious and cultural heritage in the region. We should not allow yet another act of cultural genocide, such as the destruction of thousands of Armenian medieval cross-stones in Nakhichevan by the Azerbaijani authorities in 2006. Any attempt of demolition of historic Armenian presence in Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh must be prevented and strongly condemned,” added Karampetian.