In an interview with AZERTAC, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Head of the Department for Work with Law Enforcement Bodies of the Presidential Administration Fuad Alasgarov has commented on the appeal of the Azerbaijani government to the European Court over war crimes on the part of Armenia.

– As is known, the Armenian side has sent a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, and the Azerbaijani government, in turn, has given an answer. Could you please provide an update on this?

– Yes, as you have already noted, shortly after committing a new act of aggression against Azerbaijan, Armenia demonstrated political hypocrisy and appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. On 29 September 2020, the European Court of Human Rights, in response to an appeal by the Government of Armenia in accordance with Clause 39 of the Judicial Rules, invited both Armenia and Azerbaijan to refrain from measures that could lead to a violation of the Convention on the Rights of Civilians and provide information on measures taken to comply with their obligations.

In connection with this proposal of the European Court, the Government of Azerbaijan submitted relevant information to the Court on 13 October 2020.

It emphasizes that during the counter-offensive operation launched by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan in response to the act of aggression committed by Armenia against Azerbaijan on 27 September 2020, the Republic of Azerbaijan, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, fully and strictly complies with its obligations and does not target the civilian population or civilian sites in any form.

It was noted that, as stated by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan conduct operations against the army and military units of the aggressor and strike only at legitimate military targets. The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan has also made statements in this direction.

At the same time, the European Court was informed that Armenia did not fulfill its obligations under the Convention, has, since the outbreak of the armed conflict to the present day, committed war crimes against Azerbaijan, as a result of which dozens of civilians have been killed, hundreds have been injured, thousands of residential buildings, private houses and other civilian sites have fallen into disrepair.

The information submitted to the European Court also included reports of the Ombudsman for Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan on gross violations by Armenia of the norms and principles of international humanitarian law, the Geneva Conventions, in particular, the Convention for the Protection of Civilian Population in Time of War dated 12 August 1949, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and provisions of other human rights instruments.

By submitting this information to the European Court, the Azerbaijani side demonstrated again that our state fully complies with its international obligations as a member of international organizations and the fact that Armenia attempts to use the European Court as an instrument in its political games.

– What about the Government of Azerbaijan? Did it appeal to the European Court over Armenia?

– On 27 October 2020, the Government of Azerbaijan applied to the European Court with a demand to apply injunctive measures against the Republic of Armenia. This appeal, in contrast to the Armenian complaint, is of a serious nature and is based on substantiated evidence regarding Armenia’s violations of its obligations under the Convention.

The appeal said that the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia bombarded densely populated cities and villages of Azerbaijan, as well as civilian infrastructure, as a result of which 69 citizens have been killed, 326 civilians have been injured and thousands of houses and apartments have been damaged beyond repair. At the same time, the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia targeted an international oil pipeline, a water pipeline, the Mingachevir water reservoir and other economic infrastructure facilities. In this regard, reliable evidence, photo and video materials collected by the Ministry of Defense, the Ombudsman, the Prosecutor- General’s Office, other law-enforcement agencies and secret services of the Republic of Azerbaijan were also presented. As a matter of fact, let me inform you that the Prosecutor-General’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan has started 43 criminal cases on these facts.

By sending its armed forces, military equipment to the territory of Azerbaijan, attracting citizens of foreign countries to participation in military operations in the territories of Azerbaijan, providing financial, political and other assistance to the criminal regime in Karabakh, the Republic of Armenia also flagrantly violates its obligations under the Convention.

Taking all this into account, the Republic of Azerbaijan demanded from the European Court that Armenia take injunctive measures to immediately stop the shelling from artillery installations located on the territory of Armenia and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan of Azerbaijani settlements and civilian infrastructure, providing military, political, financial and other support to criminal groups in the occupied territories, sending armed forces, military equipment and mercenaries to the territory of Azerbaijan, and immediately withdraw its armed forces from the territory of Azerbaijan.

We do hope that the European Court will pass a fair decision in connection with Azerbaijan’s appeal. As the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev has emphasized, justice and international law are on our side! We will win!