BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
Imagine, for a moment, that you are a parent who last week buried your son—a soldier killed by Azerbaijani forces during a massive attack on the Nagrono-Karabakh Republic. Imagine you are the same parent who is forced to re-inter your son because you’ve just received his decapitated head after the International Committee of the Red Cross reclaimed it from Azerbaijan in an exchange of dead soldiers.
That was the case for the Sloyan family of the Artshavan village in central Armenia. Their son, Kyaram, who would have turned 20 on April 27, was part of a unit stationed in Martakert and was killed and reportedly decapitated by Azerbaijani soldiers. His headless body was buried on April 4. The disturbing images of his head made the rounds on social media last week posted by Azerbaijanis who celebrated Sloyan’s brutal death as a victory.
Then there was the elderly couple in Talish. They were brutally murdered in their home and their ears were cut off as trophies by the Azerbaijani armed units. Those pictures also made the rounds on social media to sensitize international observers of the tactics employed by the Azerbaijanis during their latest attacks on Artsakh.
The Armenian Defense Ministry is accusing Azerbaijan of wide-spread war crimes, after seeing the ICRC-mediated exchange of bodies.
Yet the international community has, once again, opted to give Azerbaijan another pass for its well-documented savagery, which has been on display since the beginning of the Karabakh conflict. From Sumgait, to Kirovabad, to Baku and Maragha and Shahumian Azerbaijan has shown the world what kind of brutality its soldiers are capable of. The silence or lack of reaction has emboldened Azerbaijan to use such violence as a cornerstone of its military strategy.
At a press conference on Saturday in Yerevan, the US Co-chairman of the OSCE Minks Group. James Warlick, said that he and his colleagues were “disturbed” by reports of brutality on the frontline and went on to regurgitate the same old assertion that the sides must sit down to negotiate for a lasting peace in that region.
Russia, on the other hand, was more hands on in its decision to turn a blind eye on Azerbaijan’s atrocities. It’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to Baku to shake the hand of the perpetrator Ilham Aliyev, while it prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev went to Armenia to promise that Russia would continue selling Azerbaijan weapons, which are then used against Armenians in Artsakh.
The world also quietly watched as Ramil Safarov used an ax to murder the Armenian soldier Gurgen Markarian. When Safarov was handed back to Azerbaijan, which welcomed him as a hero, the world community was retrained in its condemnation.
As both sides are being pressed by mediators and world leaders to refrain from escalating military operations, families like the Sloyans have to live with the brutality that befell their son and await news of future such incidents, because for the Warlicks of the world such savagery is an inconvenience in their quest to advance a “peace plan” that is skewed to Azerbaijan’s favor that they are willing to give Baku yet another license to kill.