Human Rights Watch issued another article on war crimes by Azerbaijan and Turkey, along with jihadi terrorists in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
New evidence of torture and inhumane treatment of civilians by Azerbaijani forces emerges.
During last autumn’s six-week war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the ethnic-Armenian majority enclave Nagorno-Karabakh, as Azerbaijani forces took control of areas in and around the region, they rounded up local civilians. Most younger civilians had fled the hostilities. Those remaining, with few exceptions, were older people who did not want to abandon their homes.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented several cases in which Azerbaijani forces used violence to detain civilians and subjected them to torture and inhuman and degrading conditions of detention. Two detainees died in Azerbaijani captivity; one of them, based on the evidence, was most likely the victim of an extrajudicial execution. Azerbaijani forces detained these civilians even though there was no evidence that they posed any security threat – they had no weapons and did not participate in the hostilities.
Here are the stories of the two detainees who were killed, via accounts from their close relatives who were taken into custody with them and also subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. To document these crimes, we interviewed two people who had been held in captivity and their family members, examined photo and video evidence provided by both the families and Armenia's Representative Office at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), reviewed medical documents, and spoke with lawyers representing the families.
Claims about Continued Captivity
The fighting began on 27 September and ended on 10 November, 2020, with a Russia-brokered peace agreement. The agreement provided, among other things, for “an exchange of prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead.”
By the end of February, Armenia’s Representative Office at the ECHR had asked the court to intervene with the Azerbaijani authorities regarding 240 alleged prisoners of war (POWs) and civilian detainees. In approximately 90 percent of those cases, the office said, they had photo and/or video evidence confirming that these people were in Azerbaijani custody; in the rest of the cases, they relied on witness accounts. HRW is not in a position to determine the exact number of civilians detained by Azerbaijani forces. Two leading human rights lawyers working on the issue estimated that more than 10 percent of those detained by Azerbaijani forces were civilians.
More than three months after the truce, Azerbaijan has returned a total of 69 Armenian Prisoners of War (POWs) and civilians. An Armenian foreign ministry representative told HRW that they believe more than a dozen civilians are still in Azerbaijani custody. Their families are increasingly distraught, especially in light of the abundance of graphic videos of abuse of prisoners circulating on social media, and the horrendous accounts of some of those who have been repatriated.
Read the full report here