Arman Tatoyan: Artsakh Under Blockade: Day 9 [EP187]

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 20, 2022 | Category: Artsakh, Politics, 168am | Series: cog, video

“This is the policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the people of Artsakh” -Arman Tatoyan

Guest:

  • Arman Tatoyan, is the former ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia. Currently actively pursues human rights for Armenians in the republics of Armenia and Artsakh, especially through his foundation, the “Tatoyan” Center for Law and Justice.

Topic:

This is Day 9 of the blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan.

As we are recording this discussion, more than 120 thousand people remain trapped in the Republic of Artsakh (or Nagorno-Karabakh). For 9 days, Azerbaijan has brazenly blocked all traffic to and fro, hindering delivery of food and critical supplies.

Groong and 168 Hours are continuing our collaboration to bring you more English-language coverage on the developments of this very serious humanitarian crisis in progress. We are all in this together for the benefit of an informed Armenian public in these challenging times.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Groong before, we invite you to visit Groong’s podcast website at podcasts.groong.org to learn more and to subscribe. If you’re watching this on Youtube, the link will also be available in the description.

For Groong listeners, please visit 168.am for in-depth news and analysis.

Links:

Episode 187 | Recorded: December 20, 2022

Show Notes

Discussion

Update on Numbers

As we are recording this discussion, more than 120 thousand people remain trapped in the Republic of Artsakh (or Nagorno-Karabakh). For 9 days, Azerbaijan has brazenly blocked all traffic to and fro, hindering delivery of food and critical supplies. Yesterday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) intervened to transport one cardiac patient to Yerevan, which the protesters did let through. Naturally the Azerbaijani authorities are now cynically using the video of that Red Cross truck crossing the corridor as evidence that they haven’t blocked anything.

Another individual was not so lucky. We were very sad to hear yesterday (Monday) that one patient died in the hospital in Stepanakert, reportedly because it was impossible to get them through the blockade in time. There are additional individuals in need of more specialized medical care, who are still in Stepanakert.

Questions:

  • Dr. Tatoyan, as lawyer and Armenia’s former human rights ombudsman, can you describe what is the responsibility of the blockading side here. Both in terms of the right of free movement of people and specifically related to the need to get medical care?

We learned today that the United Nations Security Council is due to meet at Armenia’s request. This apparently is the second meeting as on Saturday there was a closed meeting held at the request of France.

Questions:

  • What is your expectation from the UNSC meeting?
  • Do you think that the involvement of Russian peacekeepers is sure to tempt some UNSC members to politicize the issue?

Petitioning the West

Last Thursday, on December 15, the European Court made a decision regarding the request to apply interim measures submitted by Armenia the previous day. The Court decided to give Azerbaijan time until Monday, December 19, at 4:00 p.m. (French time) to send a response to Armenia’s request, after which the Court would make a final decision.

The office of the representative of Armenia on international legal issues appealed to the ECHR, the European Court of Human Rights, yesterday, demanding the application of interim measures against Azerbaijan and obliging the latter to unblock the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor.

Questions:

  • What decision will the Court make?
  • Can Azerbaijan be forced to open the road?
  • In case of non-compliance, will sanctions be applied, and what kind of sanctions can they be? Who would apply them?

The Role of the Armenian Government.

The Armenian authorities place the entire responsibility for unblocking the Berdzor-Lachin corridor on the Russian peacekeeping contingent.

Questions:

  • What do you think is the role of the Armenian government in securing the safety of 120,000 of our compatriots in Artsakh?
  • Can the Armenian government rely on the international community when fundamental UN international order is not observed in our region?

Even if the Armenian government were fully convinced that they have no responsibility beyond whipping and berating the Russian peacekeepers, many analysts agree that closing Lachin is the first step by the Turkish-Azeri alliance towards forcing Armenia to relinquish Artsakh, and then agree to the so-called Zangezur corridor. They talk about Zangezur, then Sevan, then Yerevan, all without tanks. A recent poll in Azerbaijan apparently indicates that 63% of Azeris believe that the corridor is essentially a done deal; it will happen.

Questions:

  • How do you assess the Armenian government’s performance in the negotiations with Azerbaijan?
  • Why has Pashinyan and his government washed its hands of Artsakh?
  • How do you assess the job of the Russian peacekeepers?
  • What should the peacekeepers do that they are not doing?

Even Pashinyan has said that Azerbaijan is planning a genocide against Artsakh Armenians. Others say that this is already in progress.

Questions:

  • Do you believe that a new genocide of the Armenians is in progress?
  • Is there, at this point, the possibility of a positive outcome? How?

POWs and Negotiations

Pashinyan’s government seems to be content with just complaining to any sympathetic European and American diplomat or politician, but there is no real action on their part to bring our prisoners of war, hostages in Azerbaijan, these are people who have been brutalized and often subjected to torture.

In a conversation a couple of days ago, Siranush Sahakian asserted that there are 113 prisoners who have not returned home, yet Nikol Pashinyan continues to repeat Ilham Aliyev’s claim that there are 39 POWs, and hasn’t done more than a periodic statement about our POWs. In fact, Hungary has done more than the Armenian government, arranging for the return of 5 of our POWs, in a bid to pander to Pashinyan to re-establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, following the ax-murderer Ramil Safarov’s release.

Questions:

  • Can you comment on the state of our POWs, and the current negotiations to return them to their families?
  • How many POWs do you estimate are in Azerbaijan still?
  • Should our government continue pandering for peace with Aliyev, while our POWs are still there? I mean, Azerbaijan has not fulfilled even the first point in the November statement about an all-for-all release of POWs!
  • Has the Armenian government started a legal process within the framework of the Hostage Convention, because when the court decision was made in connection with Armenia’s submission, which also included the issue of the return of captives, the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) refused to examine the issue, stating that it cannot be examined within the framework of the CERD standards, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Guests

Arman Tatoyan

Arman Tatoyan

Dr. Arman Tatoyan is the former ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia. Currently actively pursues human rights for Armenians in the republics of Armenia and Artsakh, especially through his foundation, the “Tatoyan” Center for Law and Justice.

Hosts

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.

comments powered by Disqus