Armenia called on the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency meeting on the worsening humanitarian situation in Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is mostly populated by Armenians.
In his letter to the president of the U.N. Security Council, sent Friday and released by Armenia's Foreign Ministry on Saturday, Armenian U.N. Ambassador Mher Margaryan said the people of Nagorno-Karabakh were "on the verge of a full-fledged humanitarian catastrophe."
Since December, Azerbaijan has blockaded the only road leading from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, severely restricting the delivery of food, medical supplies and other essentials to the region of about 120,000 people.
"The Armenian government asks for the intervention of the U.N. Security Council, as the main body responsible for maintaining international peace and security, to prevent mass atrocities, including war crimes, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide," Margaryan wrote.
Former prosecutor's appeal
Armenia's appeal comes after the former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court warned Tuesday that Azerbaijan is preparing genocide against ethnic Armenians in its Nagorno-Karabakh region and called for the U.N. Security Council to bring the matter before the international tribunal.
"There is a reasonable basis to believe that a genocide is being committed," Luis Moreno Ocampo wrote in his report, noting that a U.N. convention defines genocide as including "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction."
"There are no crematories and there are no machete attacks. Starvation is the invisible genocide weapon. Without immediate dramatic change, this group of Armenians will be destroyed in a few weeks," the report said.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a region within Azerbaijan that came under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian military in separatist fighting that ended in 1994. Armenian forces also took control of substantial territory around the region.
Azerbaijan regained control of the surrounding territory in a six-week war with Armenia in 2020. A Russia-brokered armistice that ended the war left the region's capital, Stepanakert, connected to Armenia only by a road known as the Lachin Corridor, along which Russian peacekeeping forces were supposed to ensure free movement.
A government representative in Azerbaijan dismissed the report from Ocampo, who was the ICC's first prosecutor, telling The Associated Press it "contains unsubstantiated allegations and accusations."