OPINION

Torture on Azerbaijani Soldier: Armenian violations of Geneva Convention

4 Mins read

By: Zaman Bajwa

Azerbaijan liberated it’s territories after a 44 day patriotic war in 2020 and a agreement was signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia as Russia negotiate this deal. Although 3 years have passed since the agreement, Armenia still commits provocations against Azerbaijan. Armenian planted landmines during 30 years of occupation as well as the even after agreement are a serious threat to the lives of Azerbaijani people. The number of Azerbaijani citizens who became victims of these landmines are more than 300 people, and the vast majority of the victims are civilians. It was determined that many of the discovered mines were produced in Armenia in 2021, although in 2020 the parties reached a unanimous agreement on ending the war.

But the situation once again got heated up most recently when one social media video showed Huseyn Ahliman oglu Akhundov being tortured. In the video Armenians tortured an Azerbaijani soldier who mistakenly crossed the other side due to bad weather and kidnapped by Armenians near Gafan.  Armenian media and social media showed unknown people abusing and insulting an Azerbaijan Armed Forces serviceman. The soldier bleeds after severe kicks.

On April 10, the Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan reported two missing conscripts, including 20-year-old Huseyn Akhundov.  Two Azerbaijan Armed Forces soldiers went missing in Shahbuz, a border town with Armenia, . The Ministry said the personnel missed their route owing to bad weather..

After a video of his torture went viral, the Armenians accused Akhundov of “killing an Armenian civilian” in Gafan. The Armenian Defence Ministry reported that the soldier was found with the deceased civilian’s phone, however, this is unconfirmed. Armenian media also claimed that the footage showed the civilian’s relatives hitting the Azerbaijani serviceman. However, this information is unconfirmed.

 Armenia’s ethnic violence was reported to foreign organizations. Armenia’s torture of captives violates the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and other international humanitarian and human rights laws. Relevant international organizations should investigate Armenia’s aggression towards Azerbaijani prisoners of war, civilian captives, and 3,890 missing Azerbaijanis during the previous 30 years and provide an adequate assessment.

Despite all allegations and every possible scenario, one thing is sure Armenian authorities have violated the principles laid out in the Geneva Conventions regarding Prisoners of War. The GPW defines a prisoner of war as any individual who is captured, detained, or otherwise deprived of their liberty by a hostile power during an international armed conflict. The convention includes the following protections and rights for POWs:

POWs must always be treated humanely, and violence, intimidation, and terrorism against them are prohibited. POWs must not be discriminated against based on their ethnicity, religion, or political beliefs. To ensure that they are recognized as captives of war, POWs must be marked with a distinctive symbol, such as a Red Cross or Red Crescent. Medical care: POWs must receive the same level of medical care and attention as members of the captive power’s armed forces. POWs must be permitted to transmit and receive letters and packages, subject to security-related censorship. POWs must be liberated and repatriated without delay following the cessation of hostilities.

The Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War is one of the most significant and widely acknowledged international agreements governing the conduct of war. Its provisions are intended to guarantee that captives of war are treated with humanity and respect and that their rights are protected during armed conflict. While the Armenian forces have breached every bit of the Geneva Convention which reveals how irresponsible the state of Armenia is.

The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal investigation under Article 115.2, “Torture, cruel, and inhuman treatment of prisoners.” According to reports, efforts are being made to determine who was responsible for Akhundov’s treatment and hold them accountable in a legal setting. In addition, a request for accountability from those responsible for the prisoner’s torture is likely to be made to international organizations.

Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) of Azerbaijan Sabina Aliyeva released a statement on April 13 condemning the brutal assault and torture of the Azerbaijani serviceman.

The widely-viewed video shows an Azerbaijani prisoner of war being tortured and treated inhumanely in Armenia, in direct defiance of international law and norms. “They must be treated with humanity and protected from cruel treatment and threats in accordance with the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War,” she said in a statement. Further, she has asked that Akhundov be given speedy access to ICRC officials.

The Armenian Ombudsman’s recent announcement that our personnel had no complaints of torture or ill-treatment was also cited in the petition. The false statement by the Armenian Ombudsman Institute is deeply concerning since it was created with the intention of covering up the violations of law that were clearly captured on camera during the assault on the Azerbaijani soldier. Since these transgressions fall under the purview of international and regional organizations, the Azerbaijani Ombudsman has repeatedly called for their speedy response.

It was also emphasized that the Ombudsman and her National Preventive Group issued numerous press statements regarding their visits to the Armenian prisoners of war during the Second Karabakh War and to the members of the Armenian armed terror-sabotage group detained for the crimes committed in our liberated territories after the war.

According to the request, the recent desecration of the Azerbaijani flag at the European Weightlifting Championship directly resulted from Armenia’s policy of inciting hatred against Azerbaijan. These actions constitute violations of both international law and international humanitarian law. Eventually, the international community, relevant international organizations, and non-governmental organizations are required to exert significant influence and pressure on Armenia so that our captive soldiers can be reunited with their families as soon as possible.

Recent incident of violence by Armenia on Azerbaijani soldier is a try to disturb the peace and shows the mentality of Armenia that how they respect the International law and the agreement between both countries. Time to time violation of ceasefire by Armenian armed groups backed by their army should be great matter of concern by International community as it could also disturb the regional peace as well.

Being a rights activist and active member civil society, I condemn this inhumane and unlawful act by Armenia and I request the the International rights organizations to look into the matter and force Armenia to stop such kind of actions and bring the culprits accountable who were involved in this incident and return the Azerbaijani soldier in respect to International laws.

Landmines laid by Armenia in Azerbaijani territory during the Armenian occupation is also a great matter of concern because hundreds of innocent lives were lost due theses landmines. International community should also condemn these Armenian actions and ask Armenia to handover the factual and exact maps of the landmines laid by them so innocent lives could be saved from these landmines.

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