KYOTO — Armenia’s Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan is participating in the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (UNODC) in Kyoto, Japan from March 5 to 11, 2021.

In his speech on March 7, Minister Badasyan thanked Japan for organizing the event UNODC Secretariat, noting that this UN platform is a good opportunity for governments to discuss crime prevention, criminal justice issues, as well as the necessary mechanisms and tools.

According to the Minister, since the Velvet Revolution of 2018, Armenia has embarked on an ambitious reform agenda with new determination, made significant progress in promoting a culture of legality, preventing crime and improving the legal framework for criminal justice.

Referring to the process of judicial reform, Rustam Badasyan stressed that the primary goal is to ensure the independence of the judiciary and strengthen public confidence in the system through the introduction of balanced mechanisms for checking the conduct of judges and other tools.

Minister Badasyan touched upon the issues of hate speech, noting that this issue is urgent for Armenia, as the Armenian people have been victims of discrimination, persecution, hate crimes and genocide throughout history.

“In this context, the Armenian delegation has initiated the inclusion of a separate paragraph on hate crime in the Kyoto Declaration,” said Rustam Badasyan, emphasizing that hate crimes based on identity are the first step that can lead to serious crimes against humanity, including war crimes.

“I think that impunity for past crimes, their justification and denial pave the way for a resurgence of violence and new atrocities,” he said, citing the example of the Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone in September 2020, the involvement of mercenaries from Libya and Syria in the fight against Nagorno-Karabakh, emphasizing that the causes of the first war in Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s were due to hatred for Armenians, discrimination, and denial of fundamental human rights.

“Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian policy, which has been promoted for decades, has found its most inhuman expression during the recent aggression against the people of Artsakh, which was accompanied by crimes against humanity. One of the most notable examples of such crimes is the use of cluster munitions against civilians, targeting, destroying Armenian cultural heritage, and using banned phosphorous weapons, causing enormous damage to both humanity and the environment,” Rustam Badasyan said, citing as another evidence Azerbaijan’s attempts to grossly violate the UN Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War by refusing to return Armenian prisoners of war to other prisoners, including women.

“The recruitment of foreign terrorists by Turkey, their subsequent deployment in the ranks of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces for hostilities against Artsakh, is another serious crime committed by Azerbaijan and Turkey in gross violation of all international norms. Numerous pieces of evidence from relevant sources show that Turkey and Azerbaijan supports and contributes to the spread of the terrorist threat in our region. Therefore, we believe that the international community should join efforts to counter this threat, to bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime,” said Rustam Badasyan.

The Minister once again thanked the organizers for the warm reception and wished all the participants an effective discussion.

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