THE STATEMENT of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan regarding killing of civilians by the Armenian armed forces
Since 2 April 2016, the Armenian armed forces abruptly started intensive shootings from the occupied Azerbaijani territories as well as from the territory of the Republic of Armenia on the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, numerous dwellings, schools and other social objects along the frontline, also the positions of the Azerbaijan Armed Forces on the line of contact by heavy artillery and big caliber weapons. As a result, civilians, including women and children were killed and severely injured.
Thus, international legal documents, including provisions of the Geneva Conventions were grossly violated by the armed forces ofArmeniacommitting such war crimes.
The last incidents are the real evidence of the vandalism of Armenians who continue inhuman actions, massively violates the rights to life of the Azerbaijanis, which leads to discontent of all people in our country.
The armed forces ofAzerbaijantook necessary measures for ensuring security of the population within universally recognized national borders of the country, halting the Armenian provocations and preventing the aggressive activities.
Though the Azerbaijan Armed Forces stopped response actions unilaterally, at the initiative of the President of theRepublicofAzerbaijanon April 3, 2016, the Armenian side continued fierce attack operation, and intensively fired on civilian settlements. Since 12:00 p.m. 5 April 2016, despite the declaration to stop the operations in the front line by the bilateral agreement of the armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia, during the next days the frontline objects of Azerbaijan and civilians settlements have been shot by heavy weapons, including the artillery and all these cases were witnessed not only by me, but also by the representatives of international organizations and international journalists visiting our country.
On 7 April, as a result of the ceasefire violation by the Armenians in the direction of Agdere and Goranboy, ambulance evacuating the injured persons was fired on and severely damaged.
OccupantArmeniatries strengthening its heavy artillery forces and missiles by deploying the military forces in the occupied Azerbaijani territories in order to continue its aggressive actions, to fire on civilians and thus continue to flagrantly violate the international legal norms, helicopters ofArmeniaconduct intensive flights betweenArmeniaand the occupied territories ofAzerbaijan. All of these show intentions of the occupantArmeniato commit new war crimes.
In order to hide its aggressive policy and war crimes, the Armenian side resorts to distortion and falsification, presents inhuman actions committed by them as those committed by the Azerbaijani side and also tries to mislead the international community. Therefore, as a response to provocations ofArmenia, the Azerbaijani armed forces carried out military operation in its own territories with the aim to defend them.
It is obvious that as a consequence of aggression started byArmeniasince 1988 and continued without a break, it occupied the Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent seven districts that is totally 20 percent of the territories ofAzerbaijan; more than one million compatriots became refugees and internally displaced persons. Subsequently, over 20.000 innocent people, including children, the elderly and women were mercilessly killed and thousands of people were taken hostage.
Despite the bilateral ceasefire agreement reached in 1994 at the initiative of the Azerbaijani side, the Armenian side doesn’t follow it, violates ceasefire regime regularly, due to which both military servants and civilians from Azerbaijani side are killed, and taken captive and hostage.
Occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts are the integral part ofAzerbaijan. This is re-affirmed once again by the UN Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884 from 1993, UNGA Resolution on “Situation on the occupied territories of Azerbaijan” dated on March 14, 2008, Resolution 1416 from 2005 and Recommendation 1669 from 2009 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe confirming the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by the Armenian military forces, and governing of Nagorno-Karabakh by separatists.
Moreover, Armenia, being accepted as a member to the Council of Europe, has undertaken several international obligations according to the Opinion No. 221 of the Parliamentary Assembly, including the obligations to pursue efforts to settle the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh by peaceful means only and to settle international and local disputes by peaceful means and according to the principles of international law, resolutely rejecting any threatened use of force against its neighbors. Nonetheless,Armeniademonstrating unconstructive position doesn’t follow these obligations, creates obstacles to restoration of peace in the region and regularly violates the ceasefire.
The European Parliament Resolution of 23 October, 2013 on Nagorno-Karabakh also re-affirms the support of just position of our State by the international community and the fact of occupation. For the first time this document denotes the importance of the resolution of this conflict in compliance with UN Security Council above shown resolutions of 1993 that require immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of all occupant forces from the territories of Azerbaijan. Regrettably, no measure has been taken in this direction as well and the historical territories of our country still remain under occupation.
Regarding the latest incidents on frontline, the President of PACE, some deputies from EU countries calledArmeniato withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territories, to end its aggressive policy in compliance with the decisions of UN Security Council and noted this process is being delayed.
We consider that the international community shouldn’t remain indifferent to such cruelty, ruthlessness and inhuman incidents. The Azerbaijani nation also wants to live in peace, and violated rights to be restored.
In this regard, urging to international organizations and my colleagues, I call them to make decisive efforts to end the long-lasting Armenian aggression againstAzerbaijan, mass violation of human rights and to support just position ofAzerbaijan.
We believe justice will be restored, this severe crime committed against humanity will receive international legal recognition, criminals will be punished and sanctions will be imposed on occupantArmeniaby the international organizations.
We call international organizations to hold hearings for solution of Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from occupied Azerbaijani lands, restoration of Azerbaijani territorial integrity recognized by UN and international community, returning of refugees and IDPs to their native lands, restoration and provision of their violated rights, and restoration of peaceful coexistence.
We believe in discussions on “The recent and tragic escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict” to be held on 18 April, 2016, just position of Azerbaijan will be supported, relevant decisions will be adopted on withdrawal of Armenian forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories.
We hope all international organizations, peacekeeping forces mobilizing their resources will make efforts to restore peace and tranquility in Azerbaijani lands. Thus, necessary condition will be created in the name of peace, sustainable development and efficient cooperation in our country and in whole region. Real opportunities will be created for ensuring universally recognized human rights and freedoms of each person without any discrimination.
Commissioner for Human Rights
of the Republic of Azerbaijan
12. 04. 2016
The Statement is addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, United Nations Security Council, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, European Commission, Council of Europe, Council of Europe, OSCE, International Ombudsman Institute, European Ombudsman Institute and Asian Ombudsman Association, International Peace Bureau, ombudspersons of foreign countries, embassies of the Republic of Azerbaijan abroad, as well as the foreign embassies in Azerbaijan, and organizations of the Azerbaijani Diaspora.