Evidence of cluster bombs and other banned weapons used by Azerbaijani armed forces on residential areas of Artsakh / Karabagh

Since September 27 Azerbaijan had been using cluster munitions to target cities in Artsakh. The strikes have been reported by both local and international media and human rights organizations.

Munitions were being systematically deployed in areas significantly removed from any military installations and even strategic civilian infrastructure. The systematic nature of such attacks made it evident that both the civilians and civilian objects are being targeted deliberately. Thus, Azerbaijan committed a grave breach of international humanitarian law and a war crime of making civilians and civilian objects the designated targets of its attacks.

The very nature of the cluster munitions in question inevitably makes them incapable of ensuring the required distinction between military and civilian targets when used in proximity with civilians and civilian objects, let alone when used in heavily populated settlements.  

This means Azerbaijan is violating the international humanitarian law prohibition against using weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets. This prohibition is not only codified in Additional Protocol 1 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, but is also additionally included in the legislation of non-member states, such as the USA and Israel. Conveniently, Azerbaijan has not signed and ratified the Additional Protocol 1. However, this does not relieve Azerbaijan from the obligation to respect the principle of distinguishing between civilian and military targets. This principle has been recognized by the International Court of Justice as a foundational principle of international humanitarian law. Furthermore, the principle of distinguishing between civilian and military objects derives from elementary considerations of humanity and dictates of public conscience, which are binding on all states in every situation of armed conflict.  

The videos below represent evidence obtained either directly during, or in the immediate aftermath of cluster bomb attacks.

This video, filmed on October 4, represents dashcam footage from Stepanakert, recorded from a car parked in the street, and shows shelling of residential areas of the city with cluster munitions. The explosion in the air and damage caused by individual bomblets are clearly seen in the video.

This video, filmed and published by BARS MEDIA on October 4 2020, shows the aftermath of a cluster munition bombing. Individual bomblets which did not detonate, easily distinguishable by their pink ribbons, are shown lying on the ground.

A video produced the the news crew of the public television of Armenia in the aftermath of cluster bomb shelling in Stepanakert capital of Nagorno Karabakh. The cluster bombs are clearly seen in the footage of cameraman of public TV of Armenia. A cluster bomb is dropped from a plane or launched from ground into the air, where the casing automatically opens and releases hundreds of bomblets the size of a soup can or an orange over wide areas, frequently missing intended military targets and killing nearby civilians.
Another video produced by the public television of Armenia shows the damage caused to civilian objects. The process of gathering undetonated cluster munitions and transporting them to a location where the boms will be detonated is shown.