Hetq Investigation of Ghazanchetsots Missile Attack Sent to Investigative Committee
One year after Hetq published an article regarding the Azerbaijani missile attack against the Holy Savior (Ghazanchetsots) Cathedral in Shushi, on October 8, 2020, we now learn that Armenian law enforcement has included it in the criminal case launched during the war.
The Hetq investigation (2020 Karabakh War: Azerbaijani Military Used Turkish Rockets to Hit Shushi Cathedral) concluded that Azerbaijani forces employed a Turkish-made T-300 Kasırga multiple launch rocket system, more specifically, a TRG-300 Kaplan guided missile to hit the church twice on October 8.
One year after our publication, there was no reaction from Armenian enforcement agencies, although we had presented concrete material evidence – the remnants of spent ammunition to target the Shushi church.
A Hetq team visited the church after the first strike, filming there and on the way to Shushi, during which the team recorded the sound of an enemy UAV in the sky. After the second blow, on the evening of October 8, the team made its way to Ghazanchetsots on the morning of the 9th.
Team members collected what remained of the weapons used.
The year-long silence by Armenian law enforcement is more surprising given that on November 11, 2020, the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), on its website, noted that the Azerbaijani military, in violation of the May 12,1994 tripartite Artsakh ceasefire, “used prohibited means and methods to target civilians and deliberately targeted humanitarian and cultural objects.”
“Factual information was received that during the period from September 27 to November 9, 2020, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan, by regularly targeting artillery shells, damaged Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi city, Azerbaijan, as well as later desecrated the church with various inscriptions on exterior and interior walls,” the PGO’s statement continues.
Hetq wrote to Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan for an update. PGO responded that a criminal case was launched on September 29, 2020, two days after Azerbaijan attacked Artsakh.
According to the PGO, the preliminary investigation of the criminal case revealed that the Azerbaijani armed forces, in gross violation of a number of international agreements, destroyed and damaged a number of historical monuments of the Artsakh Republic, as well as objects of special historical or cultural value.
We asked Davtyan whether the preliminary investigation body had material evidence specifying what weapons were used to target Ghazanchetsots. The PGO responded, "Information on the question cannot be provided at this stage due to the secrecy of the investigation."
The PGO also responded that last year's publication of Hetq was sent to the body conducting the proceedings to make it the subject of an investigation within the framework of the mentioned criminal case. The PGO did not say when the material was sent to the Investigative Committee. However, if we consider that there was no reaction from Armenian law enforcement for more than a year, we can conclude that these agencies were not familiar with the material.
Top photo: Shushi Cathedral after first attack (Oct. 8,2020)