he international community must express a clear stance over the war crimes committed by Azerbaijan during the 2020 Artsakh War, and the return of captives is not a humanitarian gesture by Azerbaijan, but an obligation assumed by the international law.
Int'l community’s non-addressed statements give green light to next aggressions of Azerbaijan – Artsakh Ombudsman
STEPANAKERT, SEPTEMBER 27, ARTSAKHPRESS: Ombudsman of Artsakh Gegham Stepanyan said in an interview to ARMENPRESS.
“Two years have passed since the war. This was the war that was accompanied by the use of almost all types of war crimes, in other words, during the 44-Day War Azerbaijan has done what is banned by the international humanitarian law. Unfortunately, even two years after the war we do not yet see clear legal and political assessments of the crimes committed by Azerbaijan. Yes, there are legal processes in international courts, but the process lasts a little bit long, and only after the complete investigation the criminals will be punished and held accountable. But at least we had to expect and today as well we should continue to expect that the international community must express a clear position that that war was an aggressive war run by Azerbaijan which was accompanied by numerous crimes”, he said.
Moreover, he said that Azerbaijan is showing disrespect to the international judiciary bodies, it ignores the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights relating to the 44-Day War. Gegham Stepanyan said that there is the decision of the International Court of Justice of the UN on applying interim measures, but it has not changed Azerbaijan’s behavior.
“Moreover, if a legal decision has been made, the international community must first of all respect itself and its bodies and then hold accountable those who do not implement that decisions”, he stated.
To this day, Azerbaijan has not yet returned all Armenian captives.
“Here the talk was also about making the topic of captives a subject of political trade, which is both impermissible and unacceptable. It’s sometimes surprising to me when representatives of international organizations are trying to welcome when Azerbaijan is returning a new group of captives”, the Artsakh Ombudsman said.
“The return of captives cannot be a humanitarian gesture. It is an obligation set by the international law, which must be implemented, it must not be welcome or encouraged. It’s an obligation that must be fulfilled. And our direction should be that these mandatory points and demands must be fulfilled and not become a topic of political trade”, he said.
The Ombudsman sees necessity for joint work both from legal and political responsibility perspectives. As for the legal processes, he is optimistic and believes that there will be success in both courts – ECHR and ICJ, but states that in line with this there should also be the issue of the political responsibility. He highlights raising this issue in different structures as much as possible. “We need to draw the attention of representatives of various states and demand that if in other countries sanctions or other methods are imposed on the aggressor, the same should be done here because the international law must operate for all”, he said.
Commenting on Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia’s sovereign territory on this September 13th, Gegham Stepanyan said that the non-addressed statements of the international community sometimes with no content are just a green light for next Azerbaijani aggressions.
“If the international community with its indifference should allow, should create impunity for Azerbaijan, then everyone should understand that the international law is put under danger. This is not the issue of Armenia and the Armenian people only, it’s also the issue of the overall world order and the set rules”, he said.