Several European lawmakers accused Azerbaijan of war crimes on Tuesday during a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, citing footage of Azerbaijani forces executing Armenian soldiers captured during the invasion of Armenia on September 13.
“First of all we must all clearly realize that a country’s invasion into another country’s sovereign territory can never be acceptable. It’s also important to note that as a result of this invasion Azerbaijan continues to occupy a part of Armenian territory. And this is unacceptable. We’ve received also concerning reports on possible war crimes committed by the Azerbaijani military,” said Irish lawmaker Paul Gavan.
The lawmaker also spoke about the video showing the extrajudicial killing of seven Armenian prisoners of war and the mutilation of the bodies of women troops committed by Azerbaijan forces.
“I’ve seen the footage, it is really horrifying, and it can really be evidence of war crime,” Gavan said, adding that both sides should resume peace talks without delay. “We must see greater efforts by the international community for that to happen.”
In his remarks, Gavan also urged Turkey, which actively supported Azerbaijan during the 2020 war, to display a more balanced approach.
He also welcomed the planned deployment of an E.U. civilian mission along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.
Another lawmaker, Boriana Aberg of Sweden, said she is haunted by Azerbaijani war crimes against Armenians.
“A few days ago I received a video showing a horrible execution of a woman, an Armenian prisoner of war. I am still haunted by these atrocious scenes and the inhumane cruelty taking place. It’s not the only video where such dreadful evil occurs,” Aberg said.
“Since the large scale military aggression against the territorial integrity of Armenia launched by the armed forces of Azerbaijan, numerous videos have been publicized by Azerbaijani users on social media. These videos demonstrate war crimes, horrible scenes of the killing of Armenian prisoners of war, the torture of Armenian servicemen, including women, and the desecration of human corpses,” the PACE lawmaker said.
According to Aberg, the reaction from the international community has been unequivocal. “Our position is clear: those responsible for war crimes must be held to account,” she said.
Aberg said that the situation in the South Caucasus remains very tense and alarming. “We have a situation where one member-state of this organization attacks another member-state. Any ignorance from us will enable new violence, new atrocities,” she added.
“On 13 September, we witnessed aggression against Armenia, which resulted in the ongoing occupation of the sovereign territories of Armenia, horrendous sufferings, human losses on both sides, and a large scale destruction of civilian infrastructure in Armenia,” Aberg said citing a recent statement of European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell, who said that the fact of the matter is that Azerbaijan has bombarded and occupied part of Armenian territory, adding that Azerbaijani forces must be withdrawn from those border areas.
“We urge Azerbaijan to withdraw its armed forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia and to return to positions held prior to this escalation,” said Aberg. “We call on Azerbaijan to cease any action that could further aggravate the already terrible situation on the ground.”