May 25, 2021 – 11:24 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Armenia strongly condemns Azerbaijan’s criminal prosecution against Lyudvik Mkrtchyan and Alyosha Khosrovyan, who were captured during the recent aggression of Azerbaijan against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Under the international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Conventions, Mkrtchyan and Khosrovyan are considered prisoners of war and should have been immediately released after the end of hostilities, the Ministry said. However, it added, Azerbaijan has filed bogus criminal cases against them, thus openly violating both the norms of international humanitarian law and its obligations under the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020.
“Despite numerous calls of the international community, Azerbaijan continues to use Armenian prisoners of war as political hostages, and continues the policy of torture and psychological pressure on them,” the statement reads.
“Azerbaijan has not yet prosecuted those who have committed atrocities and inhuman treatment towards Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians, including killings, despite the fact that the perpetrators themselves documented their crimes and made them public.”
The Foreign Ministry said Baku blatantly neglects the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on providing information on Armenian servicemen and civilians held in Azerbaijani captivity. As a result, on March 9, 2021 in accordance with Article 39, paragraph 2 of the Rules of Court, the European Court of Human Rights decided to notify the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of its interim measures against Azerbaijan.
“The Armenian prisoners of war and civilians held hostage in Azerbaijan, regardless of the circumstances of their detention, must immediately be released and repatriated without any preconditions,” the statement said.
So far, more than 70 Armenian POWs have returned home. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev claims that persons still being kept in Baku are not prisoners of war but “terrorists and saboteurs”. Officials and human rights advocates from the Armenian side, however, maintain Azerbaijan is still holding hundreds of people hostage, pledging to submit evidence proving the capture of said persons to international agencies and courts.