By Vafa Ismayilova
Armenia has been violating the principle of respect for territorial integrity and grossly violating the fundamental rights of up to one million Azerbaijanis for 30 years, the Foreign Ministry has said.
The ministry made the remarks in response to the Armenian Foreign Ministry statement on June 18 alleging that Azerbaijan is "persecuting" persons accused of committing war crimes, terrorist acts, fighting on behalf of Armenia as mercenaries, illegally operating on the Azerbaijani territory during the 44-day war.
"Before starting to talk about violations of international law, the Armenian Foreign Ministry must bear in mind that for almost 30 years the Republic of Armenia has been violating the principles of international law, in particular the principle of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, grossly violating the fundamental rights of up to one million people", the ministry said.
The statement added that the persons mentioned in the statement of the Armenian Foreign Ministry as “prisoners of war” and “civilians” are persons accused of committing premeditated murder, torture, terror acts and other crimes on Azerbaijan's territory during hostilities and after the signing of a trilateral statement on the cessation of operations.
"Of course, Azerbaijan has both the right and the international obligation to bring these individuals to justice under international law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, and domestic law," the statement said.
As for the Armenians currently detained and investigated by Azerbaijan, the ministry reminded the Armenian Foreign Ministry that a group of these people are members of a terrorist group that entered the country's territory after the signing of the trilateral statement on November 10, 2020, and as a result of this group's provocative activities, four Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and one civilian was seriously injured.
It also mentioned that "the accused Lebanese citizen of Armenian origin took part in the battles against Azerbaijani servicemen and civilians during the 44-day war as a foreign mercenary. The other two Armenian citizens are persons accused of torturing Azerbaijani civilians and servicemen during the First Karabakh War".
The ministry dismissed as completely false the allegations about the secrecy of the whereabouts of Armenians detained in Azerbaijan.
"As already mentioned in the official statements, Azerbaijan has fulfilled all the requirements related to the state of detention of these persons. Even the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Azerbaijan Human Rights Ombudsperson held regular meetings with detainees and medical documents on the state of health of these persons were presented. Based on the principles of humanism, Azerbaijan has handed over to Armenia some of the detained Armenians so far," the statement added.
The ministry stressed that Armenia, which only handed over mine maps for liberated Aghdam region hides numerous mine maps and refuses to give them to Azerbaijan, "as openly acknowledged by high-ranking officials of this country".
"Until now, there is no information about the fate of about 4,000 Azerbaijanis who went missing in the first Karabakh war. The mass grave discovered in the village of Bashlibel of the Kalbajar region after the liberation of our territories is a clear proof of the war crimes committed by Armenia and Armenia's concealment of information about missing Azerbaijanis," the statement added.
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