Baku urges int'l legal assessment of Armenian crimes against Azerbaijan

2 April 2021 14:14 (UTC+04:00)

By Vafa Ismayilova and Ayya Lmahamad

Human Rights Commissioner Sabina Aliyeva has turned to a number of international organizations over Armenia's crimes against Azerbaijanis in 2020, urging international legal assessment.

Sabina Aliyeva made the remarks during her annual report on activities of the Azerbaijani ombudsman office at the Azerbaijani parliament's plenary session.

Aliyeva noted that 15 appeals had been sent to international organizations, foreign embassies, ombudsmen, humanitarian organizations, religious communities, diaspora organizations and other structures focused on the inhumane treatment of Azerbaijani prisoners and the torture they had faced. She stressed that all appeals urged measures to determine Armenia's legal responsibility.

State Department report on Armenia's war crimes

It should be noted that the US State Department has recently published a country report on the observance of human rights in Armenia in 2020, where cites facts and examples of war crimes committed by the Armenian armed forces during the Second Karabakh War.

The report says that on December 10, 2020, the international human rights organization Amnesty International published a report based on 22 videos it had authenticated, out of dozens of videos circulated on social media, depicting atrocities committed during the war. In one of these videos, the Amnesty International report documented the cutting of an Azerbaijani border guard’s throat while the guard was gagged and bound. It assessed that the guard received a wound that led to his death.

Another human rights organization Human Rights Watch reported on October 4 that Armenian forces struck Ganja, the second largest city of Azerbaijan, located about 45km from the areas of hostilities.

“Azerbaijani government officials reported one civilian killed and 32 injured as a result of the missile strike. On October 17, another Armenian missile struck Ganja, killing 14 civilians,” the report read.

Moreover, the report says that Human Rights Watch also reported that on October 29, Armenian forces fired cluster munitions from a Smerch installation, striking Azerbaijan’s Barda town, located about 16km east of the front line.

“The Azerbaijani government reported that 26 civilians were killed on October 27 and 28 in attacks on the city, including a humanitarian aid worker from Azerbaijan’s Red Crescent Society, confirmed by the International Committee of the Red Cross,” the report said.

According to the State Department, on December 11, Human Rights Watch documented 11 incidents in which Armenian forces used ballistic missiles, unguided artillery rockets and large-calibre artillery projectiles, killing and wounding dozens of Azerbaijani civilians.

Rising post-war anti-Semitism in Armenia  

Moreover, the US State Department in its report notes a rise in anti-Semitism in Armenia.

“According to members of the Jewish community and other observes, this factor is largely related to Azerbaijan’s use of Israeli-produced weapons. The number of anti-Semitic posts increased. Members of the Jewish community also reported anti-Semitic comments directed at them on public transport,” the report read.

The State Department emphasized that prior to fighting with Azerbaijan in the fall, no anti-Semitic acts had been reported, although some anti-Semitic comments appeared on social media. The report stated that the government did not condemn such anti-Semitic comments.

Observers estimate the country’s Jewish population to be between 500 and 1,000.

The 44-day war between Azerbaijan and Armenia from late September to early November in 2020 ended with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.

The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centres and historic Shusha city. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.

Some 2,881 servicemen of Azerbaijan's armed forces were martyred in the war that started with Armenia's firing at Azerbaijani civilians and positions. Over 100 Azerbaijani civilians were also killed during the war.

Azerbaijan allocated over AZN 9 million ($5m) to compensate damages to its citizens who suffered from Armenia's aggression during the six-week war over Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region.

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