WASHINGTON—The International & Comparative Law Center in partnership with the Armenian Legal Center for Justice & Human Rights has filed seven new cases with the European Court of Human Rights requesting the application of “interim measures” for prisoners of war taken captive by Azerbaijan in violation of international humanitarian law and the November trilateral ceasefire statement.
“Azerbaijan’s continued failure to acknowledge the existence of all Armenian POWs is an outrage and yet another example of its depraved indifference to human life,” stated ALC chairperson Kenneth Hachikian.
“It is time for the international community to stop emboldening dictator Aliyev and demand that Azerbaijan comply with its obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions,” added Hachikian.
Having gathered strong direct evidence of identity and continued captivity, ICLaw’s application for interim measures represents the first step in forcing Azerbaijan to acknowledge the captive existence of these Armenians and ensuring that they have access to international humanitarian organizations while in captivity, including visits by the International Committee for the Red Cross.
ALC has partnered with the International & Comparative Law Center (ICLaw) based in Yerevan, Armenia, to file cases and advocate before the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of nearly 100 Armenian POWs taken captive by Azerbaijan. Recently, ICLaw, with the support of ALC, gathered information on 90 additional POWs held by Azerbaijan. As more information is obtained, ICLaw and ALC will continue to pursue both the freedom and the right to life of all Armenian POWs.
On a related matter, the president of the ICRC, Peter Maurer, told the Russia Izvestia daily that his organization has been in touch with the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides over the repatriation of POWs.
Saying that the ICRC has access to all detainees, Maurer explained that efforts in connection to visits of the detainees and restoring communication with their families was also a priority.
“If there is a need and opportunities are provided, we will probably continue increasing our presence in this field, but at slower rates because it’s very difficult to get funding for these actions,” the ICRC President said.
Maurer also commented on the process of repatriating the POWs, stating that there is progress on this direction, captives return back home, but noted that the disputes between the sides over the status of some detainees still continue. “We continue dealing with these issues”, he said.
“Baku and Yerevan must solve this issue with each other. We can share our experience, can give advice, but the respective government must decide and set the final status of these persons. We in our turn are in touch with both sides,” Maurer said.
“At the moment our budget is about four to five times more than it was 27 years ago,” explained Maurer. “Before our budget was about $10 to 11 million, but now we are reaching $50 million and have greatly increased our presence in the region. We help the displaced persons, the people who return.”
The ICRC President expressed hope that the issue with all these people will be solved in the future.