Press release on ongoing threats as a result of planting of landmines in the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia
As a result of the 44-Day Patriotic War and the liberation of territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, one of the main threats posed to the large-scale rehabilitation and reconstruction works carried out during the post-conflict period, our servicemen and civilians working in these territories, as well as the return of internally displaced persons and peaceful life in their places of origin, is an intentional planting of landmines in the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia for the past 30 years and the cases in continuing landmine planting.
Contrary to paragraph 4 of the Trilateral Statement signed on November 10, 2020, Armenia while pursuing illegal military activities on the territory of Azerbaijan, besides not fully withdrawing its forces from the territory of Azerbaijan, continues to lay a large number of anti-personnel landmines in the territory of Azerbaijan, which leads to an increase in a number of landmine victims not only along the former contact line but also in other territories.
In general, 3345 persons became landmine victims during the last 30 years. Since the end of the Patriotic War of 2020, 266 persons have become landmine victims, with 45 killed including 3 journalists. Out of the 45 killed, 35 persons are civilians. Over the past 30 years, 38 women and 357 children have become landmine victims.
Since August 2022, after illegally settled Armenians left the territory of the Lachin district, more than 1,400 anti-personnel landmines marked E-001 M produced by Armenia in 2021, as well as on October 3, 2022, new booby traps installed at the entrance of houses and in courtyards in the villages of Zabukh and Sus of the Lachin district were found.
The transfer of anti-personnel landmines produced by Armenia in 2021 to the territory of Azerbaijan once again demonstrates that despite the Lachin corridor being intended only for the passage of citizens, goods, and vehicles in accordance with paragraph 6 of the Trilateral Statement, the abuse of this road for illegal military activities of Armenia continues. It also demonstrates that in fact, the claims that Armenia has not produced or exported landmines over the past decades have no basis.
On September 12-13, the main starting point of large-scale provocations and attacks by units of the Armed Forces of Armenia against Azerbaijan on September 12-13 was an attempt to plant landmines on the supply routes and territories between the positions of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, it is well-known that the accuracy of landmine maps, the existence of which was denied by Armenia after the signing of the Trilateral Statement dated November 10, 2020, but later was submitted as a result of international pressure, is only 25%. It should be noted that about 55% of recent landmine explosions occurred in the territories outside the areas where maps were provided by Armenia.
The abovementioned information once again shows that the Armenian side purposefully continues military threats to Azerbaijan. This activity of Armenia is a war crime, a serious violation of international humanitarian law and Armenia's obligations, and pressure must be exerted on Armenia to prevent this.
Azerbaijani side has repeatedly appealed for the mobilization of efforts to eliminate these threats and the provision of large-scale assistance in the humanitarian demining carried out by Azerbaijan. In this regard, on August 23, 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov addressed a letter to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, which was circulated among all UN members.
On September, 2022, Azerbaijani side also officially informed the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the continuation of landmine planting of territories by Armenia clearly violates the interim decisions of the ICJ dated December 7, 2021, and presented the relevant evidence.
It is necessary to put pressure on Armenia to fulfill its obligations within the framework of the Trilateral Statement and international law, refrain from actions against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, completely withdraw all armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan, immediately cease activities on the landmine planting in the territory of Azerbaijan, cooperate in the direction of demining and provide Azerbaijan with accurate landmine maps. These steps will contribute to ensuring peace and tranquility in the region.