Amnesty International Report on Civilian Deaths in Shelling during Nagorno-Karabakh War

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Amnesty International experts visited dozens of places of artillery and missile strikes in Azerbaijan and Armenia during the recent war. The facts refute the claims of both sides to the conflict that they did not use cluster munitions. Both sides also used tactical missiles known to be inaccurate, multiple launch rocket systems and artillery. This is stated in a report by Amnesty International, released on January 14.

Azerbaijan, Armenia and Armenian-backed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh violated international humanitarian law during the recent armed conflict in the region, resulting in the deaths and injuries of hundreds of civilians, as well as the destruction of houses and key civilian infrastructure. These violations include the repeated use by Armenian and Azerbaijani forces of knowingly inaccurate and indiscriminate weapons in civilian areas, including cluster munitions and high-explosive fragmentation munitions with a large area of ​​destruction, according to the report, titled: “In the line of fire: casualties among civilians from illegal shelling during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The experts studied 17 shelling and strikes by Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. During the 44 days of the conflict, which began in late September and lasted until early November 2020, at least 146 civilians died.

The Armenian forces used inaccurate tactical missiles, unguided multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and artillery. The Azerbaijani army also used unguided artillery and MLRS. Authorities on both sides have denied indiscriminate shelling of densely populated areas and the use of cluster munitions – despite clear evidence.

The Amnesty International team analyzed the fragments of weapons used in these attacks and examined videos, photographs and satellite images taken during the conflict.

As a result of the shelling of villages and cities in Azerbaijan by Armenian forces, 72 civilians were killed.

In the city of Ganja, on October 17, 21 civilians were killed and more than 50 were wounded when the Elbrus operational-tactical missile (SCUD-B according to NATO classification) fell near Mukhtar Hajiyev Street.

On October 27, five people were killed and 14 were wounded when Armenian forces dropped cluster bombs on the village of Qarayusifli, damaging many houses.

On October 28, Armenian forces launched rockets at the town of Barda, 20 kilometers from the front line. Three rockets fell in the city center. Two of them fell near two hospitals, and a third missile, a 9M55 Smerch with 72 9N235 cluster submunitions, fell in the city center, killing 21 civilians.

On September 27, Armenian forces launched an artillery attack on the village of Gashalti near the city of Naftalan, killing five people.

During the shelling by the Azerbaijani armed forces of villages and cities in Nagorno-Karabakh and the territory of Armenia, 11 civilians were killed.

On October 4, four people were killed and about ten residents of Stepanakert were wounded. Experts who have studied the fragments believe that it was a missile.

Another shelling of the city on 2 October destroyed important infrastructure, including the Rescue Service, killing one person and injuring 10.

On September 27, 12 rocket attacks were carried out on the city of Martuni, where one person was killed.

On September 30, a missile strike hit Mardakert, killing three residents.

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