Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited detainees taken captives and held in Azerbaijan for the second time in December. During the visit, the representatives of the committee got acquainted with the conditions of their detention, were informed about their health condition, and helped to contact the family members.
Zara Amatuni (Head of Communication Programs of the ICRC Delegation in Armenia) - All means of communication, letters, video messages were used. Considering that there could be a break due to the holidays, we visited for the second time. The video messages will be passed on to relatives in the near future.
Through the mediation of the President of the European Council Charles Michel, 10 prisoners of war returned to their Homeland on December 19. Before returning, the Red Cross visited them, too.
According to Artak Zeynalyan, the representative of the captives in the European Court, the number of captives settled in Azerbaijan is currently 35.
Artak Zeynalyan (Representative of Prisoners of War at the ECHR) - 35 people are currently being held after 44 day-war. It is a number that is not disputed that, yes, those people are with them. You know that there are many, dozens of cases with which there is enough evidence to come to a reasonable conclusion that at some point these people were alive under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijani agents.
There is evidence of another 80 people being captured during the 44-day war, but it is unclear what happened to them later. Artak Zeynalyan does not rule out the possibility that there may be captured servicemen whose captivity is hidden by Azerbaijan.
Artak Zeynalyan - There may be missing persons who are in uncertainty in Azerbaijan. We have cases when six months later the ICRC discovered them in solitary confinement, in places of imprisonment. If it has nothing to do with international obligations, then it is a crime to pursue political goals.
AZERBAIJAN DOES NOT FULFILL ITS OBLIGATIONS
Two dozen people were captured during the November battles and then returned. Azerbaijan has launched an illegal prosecution of two servicemen captured in Gegharkunik in May. The human rights activist does not see any grounds or logic for that.
He reminds that Azerbaijan violates the rights of personal freedom, inviolability, inhuman treatment, non-discrimination, fair trial and effective legal protection enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Artak Zeynalyan - And by not fulfilling the decision of the European Court, Azerbaijan is violating the obligation it has assumed before the Council of Europe not to hinder, to support those who file complaints against it.
There are dozens of decisions on interim measures in the European Court of Human Rights, which Azerbaijan ignores. The Strasbourg court sent them to the Committee of Ministers for review. Even after the return of the captives, the European Court continues to examine the complaints on the grounds of violated rights.
There are dozens of cases of torture and murder in captivity, and their investigation is ongoing.
According to Zeynalyan, everyone must return. The basis is not only the trilateral statement of November 9. The Geneva Conventions stipulate that all prisoners of war must be repatriated after battles.