PACE to discuss issue of Armenian PoWs left in Azerbaijan
Armenian PoWs to be discussed by PACE
The next meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on April 20 will include the issue of Armenian prisoners of war held in Azerbaijan still held since the end of the second Karabakh war.
93 deputies voted for inclusion of the issue in the agenda of the meeting, 21 were against, 18 abstained.
Pierre-Alain Fridez, chairman of the PACE Committee on Migration and Refugees, has already called on Azerbaijan to immediately return Armenian prisoners of war to their homeland.
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What Armenian MPs report
Over the past twenty days, Armenian MPs have worked with their European colleagues and presented all the details of the situation concerning Armenian prisoners of war. Head of the Bright Armenia party Edmon Marukyan said this in an interview with Armenian media:
“Despite all the efforts of Azerbaijan, the PACE agenda has been approved, according to which the issue of Armenian prisoners of war will be discussed at the plenary session. […] With its behavior, new actions to incite national hatred, Azerbaijan is doing everything to make our arguments more convincing.”
As MP Mikael Melkumyan said, the problem of Armenian prisoners of war was already discussed at the meeting of the political group of conservatives and reformists of PACE – with the participation of the Azerbaijani delegation. Here, the deputies of the Armenian parliament announced that about 200 Armenian servicemen are held captive in Azerbaijan, as hostages.
In response to this, the representatives of the Azerbaijani delegation, according to Melkumyan, only objected that the people held in Baku in Azerbaijan are considered “terrorists, not prisoners”, they did not give any other counter-arguments.
PACE concerned about the fate of prisoners
Pierre-Alain Friedez, chairman of the PACE migration committee, said he was concerned about the fate of the alleged prisoners and missing persons as a result of the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to him, the situation is of particular concern in the context of the press release of the European Court of Human Rights dated March 16, 2021, which indicates that the Azerbaijani government did not comply with the deadlines set by the Court for the submission of information about the requested people, and also provided a fairly general and limited information:
“Azerbaijan is obliged to fully cooperate with the Court, providing information on the whereabouts and fate of the remaining persons of concern on this list, and to ensure their immediate return in accordance with Article 8 of the tripartite statement of November 9-10, 2020 [on the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh, signed by the heads of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan]”.
International lawyer Ara Ghazaryan believes that pressure on Azerbaijan from international structures will increase:
“The problem is that the pyramid of hatred in Azerbaijan is already at 4 out of 5 stages, this is systemic discrimination, violence, followed by genocide. The international community has already understood that this is a dangerous state and if it is not stopped today, the next step will be genocide in the adjacent territories, for example, in Artsakh.”
According to the lawyer, if earlier the representatives of Azerbaijan on international platforms could dispute the existence of systemic Armenophobia, then after the opening of the “park of war trophies” they no longer have such a chance.
On April 12, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev opened in Baku the so-called “War Booty Park” of the second Karabakh war. Along with trophy equipment, this museum displays plaster casts of Armenian military personnel, including the wounded and dying.
“Aliyev himself already understands that he has crossed all the“ red lines ”, cannot go back and must only go forward. The international community, for its part, understands that this is not only a question of Armenophobia, but a threat to international security and the whole of Europe. We have repeatedly warned about this, but they did not believe us or tried to evaluate it in the context of regional parity, ”Ara Ghazaryan stated.