US May Be Complicit in Karabakh Genocide, Ex-ICC Prosecutor Warns Congressmen

Luis Moreno Ocampo

By Mane Berikyan

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of U.S. Congress convened on Wednesday for a second hearing on Nagorno-Karabakh, featuring former Chief Prosecutor of the International Crimincal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno Ocampo, who warns of genocide in the region.

Providing an expert opinion before U.S. congressmen, Ocampo warned that the United States may be complicit in genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh if it does not take action against Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of the region.

Almost nine months of near-total isolation has pushed Nagorno-Karabakh’s roughly 120,000 Armenians to the brink of famine.

Referring to U.S.-mediated peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ocampo said, “The negotiation is between a genocidaire and his victims. You cannot arrange a negotiation between Hitler and the people in Auschwitz. It’s not a negotiation.”

“You have to stop Auschwitz and then discuss negotiation,” he added.

Last month, Ocampo authored a breakthrough, widely publicized report warning that “There is a reasonable basis to believe that a genocide is being committed against Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh,” adding that “starvation is the invisible genocide weapon.”

The hearing was chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who called on the Biden administration to take action against the blockade and noted that neither the State Department nor USAID responded to his invitation to testify at the hearing.

David Phillips, Director of Columbia University’s “Artsakh Atrocities” Project, also testified at the hearing, presenting evidence of ongoing atrocities against Nagorno-Karabakh’s population and characterizing Azerbaijan’s “genocidal intent.”

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is a bi-partisan body created in 2008 to engage in, promote and advocate for global human rights. While the Commission does not have a legislative authority to advance bills, its hearings provide an opportunity for members of Congress to more actively engage in human rights issues.

leave a reply