March 5, 2021 – 11:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – A special online discussion on the Armenian prisoners of war in being kept in Azerbaijan was organized in the German Bundestag on Thursday, March 4, during which Armenian Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan unveiled a report on the matter.
The discussion took place under the chairmanship of Michael Brand, Chairman of the Bundestag Standing Committee on Human Rights, and Marian Wendt, Chair of the Bundestag Petition Committee. More than 70 German deputies took part in the event.
The Defender raised the issue of the urgency of the return of prisoners of war — both servicemen and civilians — of the Armenian side detained in Azerbaijan. Tatoyan noted that the Azerbaijani authorities are artificially delaying and politicizing the process so as to cause mental suffering to the Armenian society and especially to the families of the captives, and in order to create tension in the country.
The Human Rights Defender of Armenia presented in detail the international humanitarian and human rights rules which require the immediate release of prisoners and their safe return. The Ombudsman emphasized the gross violations of international humanitarian law and the rights of prisoners who are wrongly portrayed as “terrorists” given the circumstances of ongoing armed conflict.
The Ombudsman also provided information on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Azerbaijani armed forces during the war (beheadings, torture, humiliation of bodies, etc).
Several dozen Armenian POWs returned from Azerbaijan in mid-December, although Armenian officials said many more people were being held in Baku. Dozens of others, both servicemen and civilians, have been captured after the completion of military hostilities. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that persons being kept in Baku are not prisoners of war but “terrorists and saboteurs”. Human rights lawyer Siranush Sahakyan has said, meanwhile, that at least 120 Armenian prisoners of war are being held in Azerbaijan. Sahakyan represents the rights of some of the Karabakh POWs before the European Court of Human Rights. The lawyer said there is enough evidence proving the capture of said persons, which the Armenian side will submit to international agencies and courts.