The court on grave crimes in Azerbaijan has convicted two Armenian servicemen who were ambushed and captured by the Azerbaijani armed forces in the sovereign territory of Armenia. They have been found guilty of allegedly violating various articles of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan and have been sentenced to 11 years and 6 months of imprisonment.
According to the information received from the parents and relatives of the two servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces, Mr. Karen Ashot Ghazaryan (conscript) and Harutyun Yurik Hovakimyan (contract serviceman) were captured by the Azerbaijani armed forces on May 26, 2023, in the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia.
According to the information registered by the Human Rights Defender's Office, they were transferring nutrition and water supplies to the combat positions of the Armenian Armed Forces and were captured by the Azerbaijani side in the middle of the combat positions located between the Chakaten and Shikahogh villages of the Republic of Armenia.
The Human Rights Defender, Ms. Anahit Manasyan, emphasizes that the information registered by the Human Rights Defender's Office shows that the actions of the Azerbaijani authorities in capturing Armenian servicemen from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, then charging them with false charges and subjecting to an unfair trial constitute a gross violation of international law, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law. These actions are contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the requirements of international humanitarian law, including the Third Geneva Convention.
The Human Rights Defender specifically highlights that Armenian servicemen illegally kept in Azerbaijan should have the status of Prisoners of War, and their detention, criminal prosecution, and proceedings are gross violations of international humanitarian law.
These servicemen were taken captive in the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia during an incessant armed conflict. International humanitarian law is warranted in such situations, regardless of the reasons or intensity of the confrontation.
Moreover, the policy of Armenophobia propagated by the Azerbaijani authorities further confirms the unlawfulness of the criminal proceedings. It is evident that the fundamental rights of the Armenian prisoners of war are endangered in these circumstances.
The Human Rights Defender highlights that the Armenian captives still held in Azerbaijan are exposed to a constant risk of torture, degrading and inhuman treatment, as evidenced by the information registered by the Human Rights Defender's Office.
The Office of the Human Rights Defender is currently summarizing and studying the above-mentioned information and will present it to relevant international organizations, other stakeholders, and competent state bodies.