Yerevan strongly "strongly condemns" Azerbaijan's decision to prosecute against Armenian prisoners of war, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Saturday, January 9, as such actions are a gross violation of international humanitarian law.
During the 44-day Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), the Azerbaijani side extensively and systematically violated international law by committing war crimes, the Foreign Ministry said, which have no statute of limitations, and the perpetrators should be held accountable.
"The release and repatriation of the prisoners of war is clearly enshrined in the November 9 statement, and the prosecution of the prisoners of war after the adaptation of the trilateral statement constitutes its gross violation," the statement reads.
"It should be noted that the Armenian servicemen were captured as a result of the violation of another provision of the trilateral statement: Azerbaijan launched military operations in the direction of the villages of Khtsaberd and Hin Tagher in the Hadrut region of the Republic of Artsakh a month after the establishment of the ceasefire. Notably the Azerbaijani side announced the prosecution of POWs about a month after the capturing of Armenian servicemen, which demonstrates that Azerbaijan is using Armenian prisoners of war as hostages to advance its political agenda.
"The consistent and deliberate violations of the trilateral statement by Azerbaijan seriously undermine the full implementation of the statement, and pose new challenges for regional security and peace."
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that Armenians captured by Azeri troops after the completion of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh are not prisoners of war but "terrorists". Aliyev was referring to the group of Armenians who were taken captive near the villages of Khtsaberd and Hin Tagher in Hadrut, Karabakh, both settlements having remained under Armenian control after the war.
Armenian lawyer Siranush Sahakyan said on Wednesday, January 6 that at least 120 Armenian prisoners of war are being held in Azerbaijan. Sahakyan represents the rights of some of the Karabakh POWs before the European Court of Human Rights. The lawyer said there is enough evidence proving the capture of said persons, which the Armenian side will submit to international agencies and courts. Her comments came a day after the Azerbaijani side declared about only five Armenian POWs.