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St. John's Cathedral in Stepanakert Vandalized by Azerbaijan

St. John's Cathedral in Stepanakert Vandalized by Azerbaijan

In a distressing incident, the St. John's Cathedral of the Mother of God in Stepanakert, the capital of Azerbaijani-occupied Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), has become the target of vandalism by Azerbaijani perpetrators. The act was brought to light by Hovik Avanesov, the "Ombudsman of Culture of Hayk," who shared the news on Facebook.

This unfortunate event marks yet another case of cultural heritage violation in the region. The St. John's Cathedral, where the consecration ceremony was performed by the Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, on April 7, 2019, holds significant cultural and spiritual value for the Armenian community.

The act of vandalism is in clear violation of international agreements, notably Article 4 of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflict. This article explicitly prohibits acts such as vandalism, theft, robbery, misappropriation, hostility, or reprisal against cultural heritage during armed conflicts.

Additionally, the first Hague Protocol of 1954 emphasizes the strict prohibition of the destruction of cultural or spiritual values in occupied territories. The deliberate targeting of St. John's Cathedral raises concerns about the adherence to these international agreements and the need for safeguarding cultural treasures, even in areas affected by geopolitical disputes.


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