The Program on Peacebuilding and Rights (PBHR) at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) offers documentation on “Human Rights and Foreign Terrorist Activities in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).” The project draws on primary sources documenting crimes against humanity and other atrocities committed by Azerbaijani armed forces and Turkish-backed Islamist fighters against Armenians.
Azerbaijani armed forces attacked Artsakh on September 27, 2020. They were backed by the Turkish military and mercenaries with armed drones, heavy artillery, rocket systems and special forces. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Turkey deployed up to 2,000 Islamist jihadis from Syria and Libya who are promised a bounty for killing Armenians.
More than 3,400 Armenian fighters and civilians have died since the beginning of Azerbaijani/Turkish operations, with over 100,000 civilians displaced. Armenian Orthodox churches have been targeted, as have civilians. There are numerous verified cases of Azerbaijani soldiers mutilating dead bodies, beheading and executing both combatants and civilians’ and using banned weapons (e.g. cluster bombs, white phosphorus gas).
Information includes: (i) reports issued by the Ombudsman on Human Rights in Artsakh and reports by other reputable human rights sources; (ii) news articles and opinion pieces covering the events; (iii) password-protected videos (with gruesome imagery); (iv) targeting culture; (v) humanitarian agencies involved in the conflict; (vi) information on hate crimes in the West; (vii) perpetrators of the conflict and war crimes; (viii) commentaries from the project director, David L. Phillips; and (viii) consolidated information on Armenian prisoners of war still held by Azerbaijan. The web site, which offers materials in English, is updated regularly to provide information in real-time.
The documentation Project on Atrocities in Artsakh bears witness to crimes against humanity. Documentation can be a deterrent to future crimes. It can also preserve evidence to hold perpetrators accountable.
(Editor's note: PBHR recognizes that violent conflict affected all sides in the conflict. However, PBHR believes that the collateral damage of Azerbaijanis is different from the policy of atrocities such as mutilations and beheadings committed by Azerbaijani forces and their proxies in Artsakh. We, of course, lament any loss of life and human suffering.)