February 19, 2021 - 13:15 AMT
Armenia Ombud highlights dangers of Azeri troops' indiscriminate shooting

Armenian Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan has provided clarifications concerning the Azerbaijani military's behavior in areas bordering civilian settlements. According to him, indiscriminate shooting by Azeri troops near Armenian villages should be considered targeted shooting

The Ombudsman has pointed to several aspects of the matter:

1) The supposition that indiscriminate shooting is not as dangerous as targeted shooting raises a query of how we determine what constitutes irregular shootings by Azerbaijanis, and how they differ from regular shootings. For example, are 5 shots in 10 minutes considered irregular shootings, but 10 shots in 5 minutes considered regular?

2) Or, how is a villager expected to understand whether a shot is fired by an Azerbaijani armed serviceman in the direction of the village or not? If the villager assumes that the shot was fired in the air, then what? Can he then be expected to remain calm? What does it matter if the shot was fired in the air or in the direction of the village?

"The goal of the Republic of Armenia (RA) Human Rights Defender is clear: even a single shot fired disturbs the peace and quiet life of the villager, endangers the life and health of the villager and his or her child, deprives the villager of the opportunity to cultivate his/her land and the use of his/her property. The presumption is that any shooting by the Azerbaijani military should be seen as a regular shooting and thus, in the sense of being a regular shooting, such shootings must therefore officially be recorded as shootings in the direction of the village," Tatoyan said on Thursday, February 18.

"It is already a well-established fact that Azerbaijanis are regularly firing from small and large-caliber weapons in the immediate vicinity of Armenian villages, even from less than 1 km away, both in the air and in the direction of the villages. The Azerbaijani servicemen are well aware that their shots are clearly heard in the villages, are disturbing to the civilians and, foremost among them, the shots fired are disturbing to the children and violative of the overall peaceful life of the villagers.

"Consequently, the presence of Azerbaijani armed servicemen in general, and particularly in the immediate vicinity of the villages of the Syunik region or on the roads connecting the communities of the region, and any movement by them by such ways and means violates Armenia’s Constitution, internationally guaranteed rights of the peaceful inhabitants of Syunik, and is a threat to their peace and tranquility."