Azerbaijan and Armenia have committed war crimes in Nagorno-Karabakh war

WARSAV, (BM) – The armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia have committed war crimes in the recent military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, Amnesty International [AI] said in a press release after analyzing video footage of executions and torture, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.

Read more: BulgarianMilitary.com 24/7 – All about Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

“AI analyzed 22 videos showing extrajudicial executions, brutal treatment of prisoners of war and other prisoners, as well as desecration of the corpses of enemy soldiers” – report’s authors wrote it in a statement released to PAP on Thursday. As reported, two recordings show executions by beheading by Azerbaijani soldiers. Another one shows the Azerbaijani border guard’s throat cut – AI wrote in the statement.

Subsequent recordings show the torture of prisoners and the desecration of the bodies. Eleven films concern the activities of the Armenian troops, 7 – the Azerbaijani ones. All recordings come from private accounts and groups in Telegram messenger and have been published for three weeks. AI experts used digital data verification methods to study them. The organization checked the recordings’ authenticity in a technical sense, finding witnesses and confirming other sources’ information.

“During the recent fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, the military of both sides acted monstrously,” said Denis Krivosheev of AI. “The immoral and inhumane behavior that seen in these videos shows a clear desire to harm and humiliate the victims, which is a clear breach of international humanitarian law,” he added. “The Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities should immediately conduct independent and objective investigations and identify those responsible for the crimes. The guilty ones, as well as all the commanders without exception, who gave orders, allowed or favored these crimes, should be brought to justice,” said Krivosheev.

AI recalls that international humanitarian law prohibits the use of violence against any person detained, including prisoners of war, desecration of a body, as well as recording testimony or denunciations for propaganda purposes. The Third Geneva Convention prescribes “humane treatment of prisoners.” “Deliberate murder, torture or inhuman treatment, as well as insulting human dignity, including insulting and degrading treatment of the bodies of the deceased, are war crimes” – recalled.

In September, Azerbaijan attempted to regain control of the region, and after six weeks of fighting, Baku gained a significant advantage and territorial gains. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia signed a tripartite peace agreement on November 9-10. Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan brought a ceasefire in, and Russia sent peacekeepers into the region to stay there for at least five years. Armenia undertook to transfer to Azerbaijan the occupied territories in Nagorno-Karabakh and three adjacent areas. The road connecting Armenia with the separatist region’s capital, Stepanakert, is protected by Russian troops.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.

During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, negotiations have been conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is led by co-chairs – Russia, USA and France.

In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through the mediation of Russia, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed. The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, called for a rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law was introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and mobilization was announced. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they announced the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also reports about the shelling of the territory of Armenia.

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