By Rashid Shirinov
It has already been 13 days that the Armenian armed forces hold the body of Azerbaijani soldier Chingiz Gurbanov, who was killed during the prevention of the Armenian sabotage on December 29, 2016. They refuse to return the dead body to Azerbaijan for burial.
A reconnaissance group of the Armenian Armed Forces attempted to violate the Azerbaijan-Armenia state border on December 29, 2016. The Armenian group found itself in the ambush of the Azerbaijani army while violating the borders and suffered heavy losses. During the fighting, Azerbaijani serviceman Chingiz Gurbanov went missing. Later, it was clarified that he was killed by the Armenian Armed Forces and his body remained on the territory controlled by the Armenian armed forces.
To receive back the dead body of the Azerbaijani soldier, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry officially appealed to the Azerbaijani representation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), OSCE Minsk Group, as well as to the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
Despite numerous insistent appeals of international structures regarding the return of Chingiz Gurbanov’s body, the Armenian government still keeps the dead body.
In this regard, the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France, and Richard Hoagland of the United States) released a statement on January 9.
“Armenian Armed Forces are still holding the body of an Azerbaijani serviceman killed in the fighting,” the statement said. The Co-Chairs urged the return, without delay, of human remains, in accord with the agreements of the Astrakhan Summit of 2010, bearing in mind the exclusively humanitarian nature of this issue.
"We call upon the parties to cease mutual accusations and undertake all necessary measures to stabilize the situation on the ground. Violations of the ceasefire are unacceptable," the Minsk Group’s statement reads.
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmat Hajiyev told Trend on January 9 that Armenia must immediately give back the body of the killed Azerbaijani soldier according to international humanitarian law, particularly the Geneva Convention, but Yerevan refuses to do so.
“Armenia does not respond to any appeals sent through international organizations,” Hajiyev added.
Hajiyev noted that the recent statement of the leadership of Armenian armed forces, who said they still have the soldier’s body, once again proves that Armenia’s military and political authorities are far from the norms of civilized behavior.
“Giving the dead soldier’s body is a major requirement of the international humanitarian law,” the spokesman said.
“Armenia does not return the bodies of the dead soldiers, it vents anger on them, scoffs at the bodies, and this is no exception – this has become a constituent part of that country’s state policy. Such a vile behavior does not do credit to soldiers and officers and it is only characteristic to terrorists,” said Hajiyev.
Hajiyev said that relevant state agencies will in a coordinated manner continue their efforts to return the body of the killed soldier, and Azerbaijan’s diplomatic missions periodically appeal the international organizations in this respect.
Meanwhile, Ilaha Huseynova, head of Communication Department of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Azerbaijan Delegation, told APA on January 9 that the ICRC also continues talks with the parties for the return of the body of the killed Azerbaijani soldier.
Huseynova noted that ICRC is closely following the issue and is in contact with the authorities of the conflicting parties. “ICRC maintains a bilateral and confidential dialogue with the authorities and does not publicly disclose the content of talks.”