“Baku will be punished for war crimes” – Armenian human rights activist
Slaying of captured Armenians
Armenia continues to discuss the video of the murder of Armenian prisoners. Armenian Ombudsman Kristine Grigoryan stated that its authenticity has been verified by experts in several ways. The Armenian soldiers were killed during the last invasion of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces into the territory of Armenia, on September 13 near Ishkhanasar.
According to a representative at the European Court of Human Rights, Siranuysh Sahakyan, two of the slain prisoners have been identified. Although four Armenian soldiers are visible in the frame, according to the human rights activist, “we are dealing with the killing of more prisoners.” She says that among the bodies handed over to Armenia are slain prisoners, whom Baku presented as having perished in the hostilities on September 13-14.
Sahakyan said “a sword of punishment for war crimes hangs over the head of the Azerbaijani authorities.”
A video of the execution of Armenian prisoners of war by Azerbaijani soldiers appeared on social networks prior to a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The meeting took place despite ongoing tension at the border and the video. Both before and after the talks, official statements from Yerevan said that what had happened was a war crime requiring a “proper international investigation.” It is reported from Baku that the country’s military prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into the matter.
Details about the murder of Armenian prisoners from human rights activist Siranuysh Sahakyan.
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The murder was committed by the military unit “Commando”
Sahakyan provided details about the video. The war crime was committed by members of the newly created Azerbaijani military unit Commando stationed in Hadrut [a settlement in the unrecognized NKR which came under Azerbaijani control after the 2020 war]:
“The Commando military unit was formed in 2021 from Azerbaijani soldiers who were trained in Turkey. There are publicly available documents that state the task of the “Commando” is to detect and destroy “illegal armed formations of the NK”, as Azerbaijan calls the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army. But in this case, they have already acted on the territory of Armenia.”
“The bodies of the victims were abused”
The human rights activist said that among the bodies of soldiers who died in the hostilities, there were mutilated corpses of those killed in captivity:
“Azerbaijani soldiers tortured the bodies of the dead prisoners, cut off their heads, ears, and inflicted stab wounds. It is also a violation of humanitarian law because the law protects the bodies of dead soldiers.”
The consequences of the "new war" in Ombudsman of Armenia's report
The Office of the Human Rights Defender published an extraordinary report on the consequences of hostilities on the Armenian border. The report presents cases of torture of Armenian prisoners of war, abuse of the bodies of the dead, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and shelling of hospitals, schools and kindergartens.
“Baku can mislead the international community”
Sahakyan believes that an effective investigation cannot be carried out in Azerbaijan and there will be no punishment:
“The law enforcement agencies of this country are not independent, they cannot provide an objective and comprehensive investigation, but they can use the investigation to mislead the international community.”
Instead criminal cases, according to Sahakyan, can be initiated in countries that have condemned the actions of the Azerbaijani military, which would be more effective:
“In the case of war crimes the issue can be discussed in the UN Security Council, and based on a consensus vote the case can be referred to the International Criminal Court.”
“Azerbaijan is trying to create the illusion of good intentions”
Sahakyan says that the goal of Armenian human rights activists now is to prepare the evidence for trial:
“There is already a lot of evidence of the involvement of Azerbaijani soldiers in large-scale torture and killings. The Azerbaijani authorities will be punished for war crimes. But now, with the help of international legal advisers, they are trying to create a positive face for themselves.”
According to Sahakyan, it is for this reason that Azerbaijan is now working with the Red Cross.
“International law prohibits any status of Artsakh within Azerbaijan”
Siranush Sahakyan emphasizes that the European Court of Human Rights, the Anti-Discrimination Committee, as well as the decision of the UN International Court of Justice on the application of interim measures on the claim of Armenia, confirmed that in Azerbaijan “a policy of racial discrimination against Armenians is being pursued at the state level.”
Sahakyan believes that the international community should refrain from proposing solutions which may imply the status of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan:
“Whether it is Russia, the United States or any other country that is trying to take the lead in finding a political solution to the conflict, it must be borne in mind that international law prohibits any status within Azerbaijan, because Azerbaijan’s racist policy towards Armenians has been confirmed.”
Slaying of captured Armenians