The Azerbaijani officer who decapitated Artsakh soldier Kyaram Sloyan has become a national hero in Azerbaijan, after that country’s president, Ilham Aliyev awarded him a medal on Sunday when he and his wife, Mehriban, toured the border regions.
The Sloyan family, who call Artshavan village in central Armenia home, have had to endure yet another humiliation as they mourn theirs son, who would have turned 20 last Wednesday. First, they buried their decapitated son, who was killed during the savage attacks by Azerbaijan that began on April 2. Then they had to re-inter him several days later, after his head was returned to them when the International Committee of the Red Cross conducted an exchange of remains, all of which were reportedly severely mutilated. And now, the person responsible for their son’s death is being hailed as a hero.
They also had to endure images that surfaced on social media of their son’s decapitated head being paraded around as a prize by the newly-minted Azerbaijani hero and his fellow soldiers.
Of course, this has become common practice for the Aliyev regime. After all he also proclaimed Ramil Safarov, who murdered the Armenian soldier Gurgen Margaryan with an ax, a national hero.
Since the ICRC conducted an exchange of dead soldiers on April 11, reports of savage mutilation of Armenian soldiers by the Azerbaijani army have surfaced, with government officials in Armenia and Karabakh calling for an international investigation of Azerbaijan for war crimes.
Just last week, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a “Leahy Law” investigation into reports that the Azerbaijan armed forces, which annually receive millions of dollars in U.S. military aid, committed gross violations of human rights during Baku’s April 2 offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh.
The office of the Human Rights Defender of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Yuri Hairapetyan, published an Interim Public Report on the atrocities committed by the Azerbaijani Military Forces against the civilian population and the servicemen of Nagorno Karabakh between April 2 to 5, 2016.
“The most horrifying facts are the killings of peaceful civilians of Nagorno-Karabagh through cruel and inhuman methods of execution and mutilation. Similar practices of humiliation were applied in relation to members of the NKR Defense Army. Moreover, some of the NKR soldiers were, along with other forms of dismemberment, also subjected to beheading,” read the report. Several graphic images of the abuses were also published in the report.
The interim report details Azerbaijan’s policy of hatred and discrimination towards Armenians, including policies of spreading hate speech in Azerbaijani mass media and social networks, and their effects.
“The ISIS-style atrocities, deeply rooted in Azerbaijan’s state-supported propaganda of hatred and violence, gravely endanger the European human rights system as a whole. This situation threatens to escalate largely with unpredictable consequences if not effectively prevented and duly acted upon by the international community,” read the report.
Last week. the European Ombudsman Institute (EOI) published the aforementioned report on its website and officially condemned the Azerbaijani atrocities against Armenian civilian settlements and peaceful civilians. The EOI expressed its concern that the Artsakh civilians had been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.
The EOI also highlighted the attacks initiated on civilian settlements, especially, schools and kindergartens and also intolerable inroads against children and old people, by noting that these actions are violating the European high values of human rights and principles of international humanitarian law.
The same body, on Monday, issued another report, which is the legal assessment on the facts of human shielding and use of indiscriminate weapons against the civilian population of Nagorno Karabakh by Azerbaijani military forces.
According to the Artsakh Human Rights Defender’s office, the “intentional deployment by Azerbaijan of its military units and artillery in the vicinity and within civilian settlements and using them as firing positions goes against the obligations imposed upon by the Geneva Convention (IV, Article 28) to which Azerbaijani is a State Party and which reflects fundamental rules of international humanitarian law, as well as other obligations under customary international law.”