Yesterday (28 October 2020), at approximately 1.30pm local time, one or several Smerch rockets were fired into Barda, striking a residential neighbourhood close to a hospital. The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office has stated that at least 21 people were killed, with an estimated 70 more injured.
Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts verified pictures (taken by Vice News reporters in the city) of fragments of 9N235 cluster munitions from Russian-made 9M55 Smerch rockets, that appear to have been fired into the city by Armenian forces.
“The firing of cluster munitions into civilian areas is cruel and reckless, and causes untold death, injury and misery,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“As this conflict continues to escalate, Armenian, Armenian-backed and Azerbaijani forces have all been guilty of using of banned weapons that have endangered the lives of civilians caught in the middle.
“Cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their use in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law. We are again calling on both sides to immediately stop using cluster munitions, and to prioritize the protection of civilians.”
Cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons that inflict suffering for civilian populations years after their use, and are internationally banned by a treaty backed by more than 100 states. Amnesty International is calling on both Armenia and Azerbaijan to become parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Cluster munitions scatter hundreds of bomblets, or submunitions, over a wide area. It is estimated that between 5 and 20 per cent of cluster bomblets fail to explode. They are then left behind, posing a threat to civilians similar to that of anti-personnel landmines.
The use of these weapons violates the prohibition of indiscriminate attack because of the wide area covered by the numerous bomblets released, and the danger posed to all who come into contact with the unexploded munitions.
Click here to read the original article.
More about: AmnestyInternational