Azerbaijan says legal assessment needed for illegal archaeological excavations in Azykh Cave

Armenia carried out illegal archaeological excavations in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, thus continuing its aggressive policy, the Ministry of Culture told Trend.

In violation of international law, including the legislation of Azerbaijan, Armenia carried out archaeological excavations in the territories of Azerbaijan, occupied since 1992.

“Excavations carried out since 2002 with the participation of foreign experts in the Azykh Cave located in the Khojavand district of Azerbaijan and registered as an archaeological monument of world importance, refer to the above cases. The material and cultural samples found during the excavation were transported to Armenia and appropriated,” said the ministry.

“Paragraph nine of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention on the 'protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict' dated 1954 prohibits and warns in relation to the occupied territory any illegal export, other seizure or transfer of ownership of cultural property, any archaeological excavation, unless it is required solely for protection, accounting or preservation of cultural property, any modification or change in the use of cultural property, which is intended to hide or destroy evidence of a cultural, historical or scientific nature. Illegal acts against cultural property and cultural heritage during armed conflicts are considered a war crime under international criminal law. Armenia, as a state, bears direct international legal responsibility for acts of vandalism against material and cultural monuments in the territories that were once occupied by it,” the ministry noted.

“This issue is under the strict control of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture. International organizations will be regularly informed about the illegal actions of the Armenian side and measures will be taken to apply the necessary legal procedures to prevent such misappropriation. International organizations, in particular UNESCO, must give a legal assessment to these facts,” the ministry added.


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