By Vafa Ismayilova
The National Security Service has confirmed that Yerevan handed over to Baku the remains of seven Azerbaijanis, who went missing during the Karabakh war in the early 1990s, the service reported on its official website on February 13.
As a result of measures taken by the State Commission on POWs, Hostages and Missing Persons, the remains of seven bodies presumably belonging to the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan that went missing during the First Karabakh War, were handed over by the Armenian side to Azerbaijan near the city of Shusha on February 12, 2021, the security agency said.
It added that representatives of the Azerbaijani Military Prosecutor's Office and the Health Ministry's forensic medical examination and pathological anatomy association participated in the ICRC-mediated process, the report added.
The security agency stressed that a search for those missing as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, steps to clarify their destinies and carry out relevant exhumation measures in the affected areas where corpses are believed to be buried are underway in line with a trilateral declaration signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10, 2020.
“Constantly fulfilling its obligations under international humanitarian law, Azerbaijan is effectively cooperating with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as with the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation in this direction,” the report added.
The National Security Service noted that the remains will be handed over to family members after necessary urgent identifying procedures end.
Around one million Azerbaijanis were expelled from their homes and thousands went missing during the war with Armenia between 1990-1994. The war ended with Armenia occupying Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region and seven surrounding regions.
The second Karabakh War of 2020 ended with Azerbaijan's victory and restoration of most of its territories. The trilateral peace deal of November 10 that ended the hostilities also stipulates the exchange of prisoners as well as bodies of soldiers following the war.
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