Virtually 3 months after the end of the war in Artsakh, numerous POWs are even now imprisoned in violation of the peace arrangement.
Because the stop of the Azerbaijani war against the Armenian Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) on November 9, Azerbaijan even now reportedly holds numerous Armenian prisoners of war and civilians, mistreating and even torturing them. The war was introduced by Azerbaijan and Turkey versus the Armenians of Artsakh in the South Caucasus in September of previous year. To aid the Azerbaijani state in its assaults against Armenians, Turkey engaged in massive-scale recruitment and transfer of Syrian jihadist mercenaries to Azerbaijan. During the war, Azerbaijan indiscriminately shelled and bombed total towns and villages across Artsakh, such as households, church buildings, and maternity hospitals. The Azerbaijani forces also made use of cluster munitions and white phosphorus against civilian areas and forests several occasions.
The war ended by way of an settlement brokered by Russia and signed on November 9 by the two parties. As portion of the arrangement, Armenians have been forced to relinquish substantially of their indigenous land in Artsakh. According to the eighth posting, there would be “an exchange of prisoners of war and other detained folks and bodies of the dead,” which Azerbaijan has failed to fulfill to this day. Hovhannes Nazaretyan noted back again in December:
Various movies have been posted online showing Armenian POWs or civilians beheaded and mutilated. One these movie displays a severed head of an Armenian person on a slaughtered pig. One more movie shows an Armenian soldier stating “Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” then switches to the severed head of the exact same soldier impaled on a wood stick, carried by Azerbaijani soldiers. In yet another video clip, Azerbaijani soldiers lower off equally ears of an previous person, held down on the flooring of his property. Two males who have been beheaded by Azerbaijani servicemen have been identified as Genadi Petrosyan, 69, of Madatashen (in Askeran district) and Yuri Asryan, 82, of Azokh (in Hadrut district). Equally gentlemen reportedly refused to leave their properties as Azerbaijani forces approached and captured their villages.
On December 8, nonetheless another video emerged of Azerbaijani soldiers beheading an elderly Armenian man, who pleaded for his lifetime in Azerbaijani.
In the meantime, the destiny of many kidnapped Armenians is continue to mysterious. Amid them is the Lebanese-Armenian woman Maral Najarian, who moved with her sister from Lebanon to Artsakh next the Beirut explosion in August of past calendar year. They hoped for a much better existence but as an alternative observed on their own as war refugees. When the Armenians were being purchased to go away elements of Artsakh subsequent the settlement, she tried to get her belongings from household. She was accompanied by her friend, Viken Euljekdjian. Equally were kidnapped by Azerbaijani forces and continue being lacking.
Zartonk Media claimed:
When the war begun, the sisters moved to Goris, but their possessions remained in Berdzor (Lachin). Just after the announcement of the trilateral ceasefire statement, on November 10, Maral Najarian, pondering that she could securely get her possessions out of Berdzor, jointly with her acquaintance, also an immigrant from the diaspora, Viken Euljekdjian, went to Berdzor, and then to Shushi. Soon after that they disappeared.
This brutality seems to be mostly induced by the institutionalized propaganda Azerbaijan deploys in opposition to Armenians. In January, for occasion, Azermarka, a state organization beneath the Azeri Ministry of Transportation, Communications and Large Technologies, issued postage stamps entitled “Azerbaijan 2020.” In the stamps, Azerbaijan is noticed “disinfecting” the Armenian area of Artsakh, employing the imagery of vermin and condition to dehumanize Armenians. Azerbaijan Television (AZTV) described that the postage stamps “are dedicated to Azerbaijani heroes.”
This was not the very first incident in which Azerbaijan systematically engaged in such speech concentrating on Armenians. In accordance to the 2018 report “Armenophobia in Azerbaijan: Structured Hate Speech and Animosity toward Armenians,” epithets these kinds of as “cancerous tumor,” “disease,” and “parasite” are frequently leveled against Armenians in Azerbaijan.
Quite a few rights advocates protested the propaganda stamps on social media. The Armenian National Committee of Australia, for instance, explained that “this stage of vile variety of perverse dehumanization was most likely only last witnessed throughout the reign of Nazis in Germany.”
Karnig Kerkonian, an international attorney with experience in the law of treaties and condition obligations, said:
Azerbaijan’s refusal to return Armenian POWs is not only a patent violation of paragraph 8 of the Trilateral Statement, but is also a blatant violation of the Geneva Conference (III) Relative to the Remedy of Prisoners of War, which not only needs the return of POWs at the cessation of hostilities but also establishes a demanding timetable for executing so under global law—which is instantly and with out delay.
This is a unilateral obligation of the detaining celebration, Azerbaijan, pursuant to Short article 118 of the Convention, and it is buttressed more by Commentaries 4434 and 4448 promulgated by the Worldwide Committee of the Purple Cross. Azerbaijan’s conduct in this regard is a materials breach of the Trilateral Assertion, a manifest violation of international humanitarian legislation, and clear evidence of Azerbaijan’s rogue behavior in contravention of its global authorized obligations.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh up-to-date its “Interim Report on the Cases of the Killing of Civilians in Artsakh by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan.” The report features facts about Armenian civilian casualties, together with people “who were killed in Azerbaijani captivity, or at minimum under their command, via bodily violence, stabbing, beheading, close-range shot, and other direct suggests.”
A single of the victims was Alvard Tovmasyan, who suffered from mental health issues. In accordance to Intercontinental Christian Worry, on January 13, kin discovered the human body of 58-calendar year-old Tovmasyan, discovered dead in the garden of her residence in Karin Tak, a village of Artsakh:
Kinfolk remaining the village on October 29, when Tovmasyan stayed driving. Azeri forces later captured the village and following the ceasefire settlement she was described lacking.
When Tovmasyan’s overall body was learned, it had been mutilated just about further than recognition. Her brother Samvel only regarded her by her clothing. Family members also documented that Tomasyan’s feet, arms and ears had been lower off as portion of her torture. These varieties of atrocities are reminiscent of people committed all through former pogroms and genocides against the Armenian Christian neighborhood.
Legal rights advocates are concerned that other Armenian captives will also be murdered by Azerbaijan. Garo Ghazarian, former Chairman of the Armenian Bar Affiliation and the Co-Chair of the Armenian Bar Association’s Armenian Rights Look at Committee (ARWC), mentioned:
Azerbaijan’s holding of Armenians captive, (as well as) their mistreatment and torture, is a testomony to its racism and extreme prejudice, xenophobia and Armenophobia. In the last analysis, these functions talk volumes of its disregard and outright defiance of international legislation and criteria.
These violations and mistreatment in the context of worldwide regulation signify that Azerbaijan has neither regard nor any regard for human rights. Its habits is show ‘A’ of what constitutes war crimes.
Azerbaijan’s utter disregard of worldwide obligations is because of to the worldwide community’s silence, and a collective failure to impose sanctions, and to carry out punitive steps to compel Azerbaijan’s compliance with humanitarian expectations.
The failure of the global community to insist on the rapid launch of all Armenian prisoners in Azerbaijani custody has hence far been dismal and therefore is further than deplorable.
Without having any even further delay, the worldwide community, the UN, the EU (and even Russia) need to insist that Azerbaijan permit an speedy inspection of its prisons and accommodate visits by worldwide observers with the Armenian prisoners, to figure out their wellness and welfare whilst they are continue to in Azerbaijani custody.
Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist and political analyst formerly based in Ankara. Her writings have appeared in The Washington Periods, The American Spectator, The Christian Submit, and The Jerusalem Article. Her function focuses mainly on human rights, Turkish politics and record, spiritual minorities in the Center East, and antisemitism. Follow her on Twitter: @bulutuzay_.