Law 17:24 08/09/2021 Armenia

Ombudsman: Azerbaijani-provoked incidents in Artsakh pursue two goals

Azerbaijani forces tortured and humiliated Armenian servicemen even when they were held captive by Azerbaijan for only 3-4 hours, Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan told a news conference in Yerevan on Wednesday.

He reflected on the capture of a resident of the Machkalashen community of Artsakh’s Martuni region on July 26. The man remained in Azerbaijani captivity for four hours and was released with the mediation of Russian peacekeepers.

“He was tortured and treated inhumanely, in particular, he had an injury in his right leg, he was in a serious psychological distress. This man had mental problems and in this case even those problems were not taken into account by the Azerbaijani side,” Stepanyan explained.

According to him, the Azerbaijani military inhumanely treated not only the captured and killed Armenian soldiers, but also the relatives of the missing servicemen.

“During the war, when the phones of our servicemen fell into the hands of Azerbaijani soldiers, they repeatedly used the social media accounts of our troops to hurt their relatives’ feelings. In one case, the account of a missing soldier was used to send messages to his mother and like her photos. In other words, an attempt was made to keep the relatives in a difficult situation,” Stepanyan said.

Ten months after the end of the war, a DNA analysis confirmed the death of the Armenian soldier, after which his mother removed the account from her friend list.

Referring to the situation in Artsakh, Gegham Stepanyan said despite the Russian peacekeeping mission there, Azerbaijan often violates the ceasefire, with the latest such incident recorded on Tuesday.

“The ceasefire is being violated from the Shushi area on an almost daily basis, the Azerbaijani side opens fire at Armenian settlements. It is unreasonable to assume that the replacement of existing troops by border troops can bring real results in this sense and Azerbaijan will refrain from illegal actions. Yes, it is necessary to introduce mechanisms that would allow finding out the perpetrators and the circumstances of the incidents. It will be possible to reduce the number of incidents in the future, maybe even rule them out, only through the introduction of such mechanisms,” Stepanyan said.

According to the ombudsman, currently the Azerbaijani military positions are very close to 28 settlements of Artsakh, being at a distance of 150 meters to 1.5 kilometers.

“The issue to move the positions to such a distance that it would not be possible to observe or target peaceful settlements must be raised,” he said.

The Artsakh ombudsman believes that the incidents provoked by Azerbaijan pursue two goals. The first purpose is to create an atmosphere of fear and despair as a continuation of Azerbaijan’s policy of ethnic cleansing against Artsakh, he said.

“The second goal is to discredit the efficiency of the Russian peacekeeping mission to demand their withdrawal in the future,” Stepanyan noted.

During the news conference, Armenia's Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan presented a new special report on state responsibility of Azerbaijan for torture and inhuman treatment of Armenian prisoners of war and civilians during last year’s war in Artsakh. The report covers the state responsibility of Azerbaijan for the gross violation of the rights of Armenians captives, cases of torture and degrading treatment by Azerbaijani forces, the conditions of detention since capture and legal protection of the civilians.



Source Panorama.am
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