Armenian President Serge Sarkisian delivered the following remarks on the recent ceasefire violations and killings of Armenian civilians and soldiers by Azerbaijani artillery fire.
He vowed to “expose and chase down each individual guilty of such crimes, from the private soldier executing an order to the commander issuing such an order.” The Armenian victims were killed, he said, because the international community failed to “make Azerbaijan understand” that a path of violence cannot bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
“Lacking alternatives, we ourselves will be humanity’s retributive sword against those committing these crimes. We will do it on our own as long as the civilized world is not able to find a more effective mechanism,” said Sarkisian.
The remarks were delivered prior to the beginning of the 6th session of the State Commission on Coordination of the Events for the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide at the Presidential Palace on Sept. 26.
Before moving on to the agenda items, I have something to say about the events of the last two days.
On the eve of the 70th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, amid the regular peacemaking efforts of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] Minsk Group co-chairs, and before the eyes of the entire world, Azerbaijan—confident in its impunity, and inspired by international players continuously equating the actions of the conflicting sides—again impenitently violated its very obligations to maintain the ceasefire. As a consequence of the ceasefire violation, we have suffered painful losses: four young Armenian soldiers were killed while engaged in their everyday activities five kilometers away from the frontline, the immediate danger zone. They were guardians of peace in their motherland. And a day earlier, three women—a mother, a sister, and a daughter, who took care of their family with their peaceful work—were killed in their own house, in their own garden, in front of their beloved folks.
They were killed because an entire world can’t make Azerbaijan understand that this path—filled with human losses, bloodshed, suffering, torture, and the suppression of the voices of its own citizens—does not lead to peace, it does not lead to prosperity, and it does not lead to stability and security.
As demonstrated by modern history, the path chosen by the Azerbaijani authorities—the path marked by crimes against humanity—either results in an international punishment or leads to the guillotine erected by its own people who have run out of patience.
By deviating from the path of peaceful resolution of the conflict, Azerbaijan is also deviating, gradually and steadily, from the path of other norms of international law. Gradually and steadily, Azerbaijan’s criminal regime is further plunging into the swamp of crimes against humanity.
The law of the civilized world calls upon humanity to put an end to the impunity of crimes against humanity. The Republic of Armenia is committed to this position. We will consistently expose and chase down each individual guilty of such crimes, from the private soldier executing an order to the commander issuing such an order. Lacking alternatives, we ourselves will be humanity’s retributive sword against those committing these crimes. We will do it on our own as long as the civilized world is not able to find a more effective mechanism.
When we say that we are afraid of war but we are not afraid to fight, we mean it—they’re not empty words. Armenia—and Nagorno-Karabakh as an inseparable part of Armenia—is one of the most militarized zones in the world. As you know, our grandfathers used to say that you don’t give out pilaf during a battle. During the past 20 years of imposed ceasefire, we have tried our best to avoid a new confrontation—and it has been impossible to transform that ceasefire into peace on account of the actions taken by Baku. We will continue in the same vein, but will also resort to retributive actions so that the enemy does not think that its impertinent behavior will remain unpunished.
Without a doubt, Azerbaijan’s government will be forced to give an account to its people for causing them continued suffering. This much for now.