Azerbaijan expects the EU side to refrain from biased statements that undermine peace efforts in the region, Aykhan Hajizada, Spokesperson of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in his response to a local media inquiry regarding the reaction of Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the EU Commission, to the questions of the Members of the European Parliament on “Armenian detainees”, Report informs.

According to him, this is yet another attempt by the EU High Representative to please Armenians and promote a narrative that has no moral and factual ground:

“We reject these false and inflammatory allegations.

Azerbaijan both as a humanitarian gesture and consistent with its obligations under international humanitarian law since 2020-war has released and repatriated more than 200 Armenians in its custody who were entitled to prisoner-of-war status or considered as detainees. All the Armenian POWs and civilians detained in Azerbaijan were treated following the requirements of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, they were not subjected to torture, humiliation, and inhuman treatment. Each of them underwent medical care and examination during their detention, ICRC held regular meetings with them, and their contacts with the families were arranged. Nevertheless, when Azerbaijan returned them to Armenia some of them passed through imprisonment and interrogation carried by Armenian authorities. War criminals, separatist leaders, and other remaining detainees of Armenian origin either have been charged or convicted of war crimes, ethnic cleansing, military aggression, torture, and other serious offenses, or there is an ongoing investigation.”

Hajiyev asserted that Azerbaijan has rights and obligations to investigate and prosecute these offenses under the Geneva Conventions and generally under international and domestic law: “These detentions have a proper legal basis and do not impair the detainees’ rights. Even if the detainees were prisoners of war, under the Third Geneva Convention, prisoners of war against whom criminal proceedings for an indictable offense are pending may be detained until the end of such proceedings, and, if necessary, until the completion of the punishment. It would be more appropriate if the EU side would turn its attention to the testimonies of the ill-treatment of Azerbaijani prisoners of war and civilian detainees by Armenia, as well as missing Azerbaijanis. Since the inception of Armenian aggression more than 3890 Azerbaijanis went missing and their fate remains unknown. These missing people were comprised of 3171 militaries and 719 civilians (including 71 children, 267 women, and 326 elderly).”

“Concerning comments related to ensuring the rights of Armenians who migrated to Armenia and other countries it is important to recall that notwithstanding Azerbaijan’s call, program, and actions for reintegration, local Armenians decided to leave and not to return to Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, for almost 30 years we have not heard any concerns or calls from the EU side regarding the rights of around 1 million refugees and IDP Azerbaijanis who were forcefully and brutally displaced from their homes.