WASHINGTON (A.W.)—Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro Lemes released a statement on April 3 condemning Azerbaijan’s “serious violation of the principles of international law,” particularly the targeting civilians, which he called “a complete violation of the most basic rules governing armed conflict.”
“Any act of violence to resolve a territorial dispute is inadmissible and when such acts of violence cause civilian deaths they are acts of barbarism,” read Almagro’s statement.
The Azerbaijani Army has been shelling Armenian civilian settlements, particularly the town of Martakert. Hetq.am on April 3 published the disturbing news of an elderly couple—Valera Khalapyan and his wife, Razmela—found shot in their home in Talish with their ears cut off; another civilian, Marousya Khalapyan, born in 1924, was also killed. On April 2, 12-year-old Vaghinak Grigoryan was killed in the Marduni region, and 2 other children were wounded, from a Grad BM-21 multiple rocket launcher attack.
Almagro also laid out the basic principles that the parties must adhere to in resolving the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. The four principles he outlined are non-use of force; territorial integrity; equal rights; and the self-determination of peoples.
Established in 1948, OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas, with the stated purpose of achieving—as set in Article 1 of its Charter—”an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.”
Almagro was elected secretary general of the OAS in March 2015. Prior to holding his current position, Almagro, who is a lawyer by profession, was the foreign minister of Uruguay from 2010-15.
Below is Almagro’s statement in its entirety.
Declaration of Secretary General of the OAS Luis Almagro regarding recent events in Nagorno-Karabagh
Stability and peace, and the achievement of peaceful solutions to conflicts between nations, are values that go beyond our hemisphere.
Therefore, the use of military action by Azerbaijan is particularly serious because it constitutes a manifest violation of the ceasefire established in 1994, as well as a violation of the principle of good faith negotiations in the framework of the Minsk Group.
We condemn the serious violation of the principles of international law.
Moreover, taking civilian objectives as military targets in these attacks is a complete violation of the most basic rules governing armed conflict. These practices must be banished.
Any act of violence to resolve a territorial dispute is inadmissible and when such acts of violence cause civilian deaths they are acts of barbarism.
We urge the Azeri authorities to resume the meetings that have been postponed with Minsk Group authorities.
The basic principles for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh [conflict] are based on the Helsinki Final Act (1975); they are:
– Non-use of force
– Territorial integrity
– Equal rights
– Self-determination of peoples
We demand the fullest respect for these principles.