Baku urges int’l pressure on Armenia to fulfill obligations
By Vugar Khalilov
Baku has urged the international community to put pressure on Yerevan to fulfill its obligations regarding the fate of Azerbaijani citizens who went missing during the first Karabakh war (1988-1994).
In a statement published on its website on February 8, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said: “We call on the international community to put pressure on the Armenian side to take responsibility for clarifying the fate of the missing Azerbaijani citizens, the bloody legacy of the first Armenian-Azerbaijani war, and to demand that it fulfills its obligations.”
The ministry recalled that in exchange for the return of eight Armenian servicemen by Azerbaijan, Armenia promised to provide information on Azerbaijani citizens missing in the first war and their mass graves.
However, the statement made by Yerevan on February 7 about Armenia's non-commitment regarding the abovementioned issue should be regarded as the most extreme example of disrespect for the norms of international humanitarian law and the principle of humanism, the ministry stressed.
It was recalled that, under the 1949 Geneva Convention and its relevant protocols, as well as general international humanitarian law, Armenia is required to provide information on civilian and military Azerbaijani citizens (who were systematically killed by Armenian armed forces) and the location of their mass graves.
The ministry emphasized that humanitarian issues were one of the main topics of the videoconference held on February 4 at the French president's initiative. The meeting was attended by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
During the meeting, Aliyev underlined that Armenia had to provide information about the mass graves of 3,890 missing Azerbaijani citizens (including 71 children, 267 women and 326 elderly people). The presidents of France and the European Union Council both supported this issue.
Armenia, which is responsible for determining the fate of about 4,000 missing Azerbaijani citizens, promised to cooperate in this matter.
The ministry stated that Armenia's denial of its international humanitarian obligations, as well as promises made during the video conference on February 4, is completely outside the moral, ethical, and legal framework in light of Azerbaijan's discovery and return of the bodies of 1,708 Armenian servicemen.
Furthermore, Armenia’s mass arrest and persecution of its military servicemen, who were returned by Azerbaijan as a sign of humanism, should be viewed as a special state "care" for its citizens, the ministry added.
It should be noted that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has created a DNA database of over 3,000 people based on DNA samples collected from missing persons' families.
The fate of Azerbaijani citizens who have been missing for approximately 30 years can be clarified as a result of testing of the remains to be removed from mass graves (based on information provided by Armenia), the ministry concluded.