The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is distressed by the news of the death of K. Hovhannisyan, 40, who died of starvation on August 15, 2023, as a direct result of the Azerbaijani blockade of Artsakh, as evidenced by reports from both the coroner and the medical examiner of the Republic of Artsakh. The Artsakh blockade, which has been ongoing since the 12th of December, 2022, is the cause of increasing malnutrition, miscarriages, and medical complications related to people being unable to access proper food and medical care. Now, the blockade has begun to cause the direct death of Armenian citizens of Artsakh through starvation.

This blockade is genocidal in its intent, which is to eliminate the Armenian population of Artsakh, either through mass displacement or mass starvation. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has himself said as much on several occasions, including in his statement on May 29th, 2023, when he threatened: “There will be no third invitation. Either they themselves will come to us humbly, or events will develop in a different direction. We have every opportunity to carry out any operation in that region. Therefore, the “parliament” must be dissolved, the element calling itself “president” must surrender, all “ministers,” “deputies,” and others must already leave their posts. Only in this case can we talk about any kind of amnesty.”

The Lemkin Institute wants to make clear that leaders such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, U.S. President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and all other leaders who have created the impunity with which President Aliyev now operates, are directly responsible for the death of this man, as well as any others who may die as a result of this blockade. They also may be complicit in the crime of genocide.

The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention wants to once again make clear that any individual and/or state enabling Azerbaijan in the blockade of Artsakh, whether directly through foreign aid or indirectly by refusing to use all the diplomatic tools at their disposal, is complicit in this genocide of the 120,000 citizens of the Republic of Artsakh, and could be held responsible for complicity in a court of law. It is urgent that international leaders take immediate action against Azerbaijan to prevent further deaths in the Republic of Artsakh.

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