10/11/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) – A video depicting the killing of two civilian Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) that surfaced nearly one year ago still brings heartache and pain to Armenians, particularly those who knew them in Hadrut. The video was posted to an anonymous Telegram channel on October 15 and removed not long after once the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed it was fake and a “provocation”.
However, the videos had already been archived and have been authenticated by BBC and independent investigators. British analysts and Armenian human rights advocates dubbed the video “undeniable war crime evidence.” The helmet worn by one of the Azerbaijani troops suggests that at least one person involved was part of Azerbaijan’s special forces, not just normal armed forces. Independent investigators have not yet been allowed to enter Hadrut since the town has remained under Azerbaijani control.
One former Hadrut resident, now living in Yerevan, recounted her experience to RFE/RL of the first time she came across the videos. Margarita Karamian said she knew both men in the videos, 73-year-old Benik Hakobian, and 25-year-old Yuri Adamian. “Terrible. It was terrible,” she said. “But it was not unexpected. We have already seen so many terrible things that we seem to have become a type of zombie.”
Karamian had lived in Hadrut her whole life, even during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war of the 1990s. Yet, as her husband and son said, “this is a different war.” She sent her children off and she remained for some time until her husband and son forced her to flee just before midnight on October 9. It is suspected that the two men in the videos were killed just the next day when Azerbaijani forces took the city. The bodies of some Hadrut residents have been recovered, but Hakobian and Adamian’s have not. Many more Hadrut residents are still missing one year later.