Tuesday April 16 2024

Azerbaijan urges Armenian field commanders' involvement in search for missing bodies

14 February 2024 13:57 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan urges Armenian field commanders' involvement in search for missing bodies

The State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages, and Missing Persons of the Republic of Azerbaijan welcomes the news statement of the same-named institution of the Republic of Armenia regarding its readiness for cooperation in determining the fate of missing persons in military operations and, as always, considers it acceptable to combine efforts in this direction, the Commission said in its statement, Azernews reports.

The State Commission emphasized that the Republic of Azerbaijan, adhering to the norms of international humanitarian law and the relevant provisions of the trilateral Statement signed on November 10, 2020, with close involvement of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has created favorable conditions for the Armenian side to conduct search operations in areas where military operations were conducted, and as a result, 1713 bodies were discovered and handed over to Armenia following the 44-day war, 157 bodies after the military conflict on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conventional border on September 12-14, 2022, and 173 corpses following the anti-terrorism operation on September 19-20, 2023.

“In the First Garabagh War, 3890 Azerbaijani citizens were registered with the State Commission as missing persons, and as of January 1, 2024, based on available information, only the remains of 25 individuals have been identified.

Azerbaijani society was increasingly concerned about the fate of 54 Azerbaijanis who went missing during the First Garabagh War.

The information gathered between 1998 and 2001 suggests that the ICRC visited and officially registered the 54 Azerbaijani citizens who were taken prisoner and held at detention centres in the Republic of Armenia and temporarily occupied lands of the Republic of Azerbaijan. While the bodies of 17 individuals were repatriated to Azerbaijan, the fate of 4 individuals remains unclear, and despite reports indicating the deaths of 33 individuals in captivity, their remains have yet to be returned.

The State Commission deems it necessary to involve individuals who served as field commanders from the Armenian side until 1994 and other authorised persons in the search process for the burial sites of our missing compatriots, as they may have knowledge of the locations of mass gravesites.

As the State Commission, we reiterate our readiness to cooperate with relevant structures in the Republic of Armenia to ensure clarity, transparency, and mutual trust in the search for missing persons from both sides,” the statement said.


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