By | Rachel Brooks
October 29, 2020
The above image of the aftermath of the Barda shelling was retrieved from social media. Fair use.
In a recent development, the Human Rights Watch organization has acknowledged the use of cluster munitions against the civilian population of Azerbaijan, following the repeat attacks on Barda. This was after Amnesty International also acknowledged the events, which killed at least 21 civilians and wounded over 70 others.
Human Rights Watch likewise officially responded to Republic Underground’s request for comment after many hours. The Human Rights Watch Press responded with a copy of the press release concerning the use of cluster munitions in Barda, which was posted on October 30 at 12:00am EDT.
“Armenian forces either fired or supplied internationally banned cluster munitions and at least one other type of long-range rocket used in an attack on Barda city, 230 kilometers west of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku on October 28, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack reportedly killed at least 21 civilians and wounded at least another 70,” stated the news release.
The Human Rights Watch noted reviewing photographic evidence retrieved from the scene. Photographs highlight the ordinance of Smerch missiles. Amnesty International likewise made note of the use of Smerch weapons, after a report by Variety released exclusive photos of the remnant of destruction.
Human Rights Watch was approached for further comment regarding the use of these munitions in areas where children resided, and the fatalities of children in the use of these munitions. The HRW had not responded to our request at the time of this report.
The release cited a release statement from the Azerbaijani General Prosecutor’s office.
The General Prosecutor’s office states that a criminal case has been established in the use of the Smerch missiles against the people of Barda.
“A criminal case has been launched on the fact that the Armenian armed forces fired rockets at Barda,” the statement read.
The statement proceeded to outline the crimes and ceasefire violations committed by the Armenian forces against the civilian population of Azerbaijan.
“From September 27, 2020, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia grossly violated the norms and principles of international law, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols, UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the requirements of the declared humanitarian ceasefire. deliberately targets the population and launches missiles and heavy artillery strikes on our cities and districts that do not belong to the region where the hostilities are taking place,” read the statement.
“As a continuation of Armenia’s aggressive policy, on October 28, 2020, at around 1 pm, the enemy’s armed forces entered the densely populated area of Barda and compact commercial facilities with 72 Smerch 9N235 bombs, each with a total of 144 bombs. 21 people, including 5 women, were killed (list attached), 8 children and 70 women, including 15 women, as a result of the launch of two ballistic “cluster” ballistic missiles with a large destructive power 9M525. received various degrees of bodily injuries,” the statement continued. The statement by the General Prosecutor’s office has been translated from Azerbaijani.
While Human Rights Watch did acknowledge the munitions used against Barda, it did not confirm how it received the information for its report on weapons allegedly used against Stepanakert. Human rights groups have severely limited access to the scene on the ground, which cast considerable doubt upon this report among the military and defense experts of the international community.