The speech by the Member of the RA NA Delegation to PACE Samvel Farmanyan
“Terror attacks in Brussels and recent escalation over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sent a strong and an unequivocal wake up call to all of us! People are in danger and their lives are threatened in a most barbaric way refreshing our memories of the past. We should prove that political institutions; parliaments are yet powerful enough to address these increasingly unprecedented challenges we face today. We should prove there is no compromise when it comes to the most fundamental value – the right of a human being to life.
You know well, colleagues, that Azerbaijani armed forces unleashed a large-scale aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh on the entire line of contact recently and a new term has been coined already – a four-day war. Azerbaijani armed forces used deadly offensive weaponry obtained in the last 20 years in a gross breach of all international norms.
Use of force by Azerbaijan goes contrary to the key documents of international law, UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act and others. The Azerbaijani attack amounts to an act of Aggression in line with international law. Azerbaijani army targeted civilian infrastructures and peaceful population. 12-year-old Vaghinak Grigoryan was killed and two other children were wounded heavily at the schoolyard bombarded by Azeri forces. And this is not the only act of violence against civilian population. Valera and Razmela Khalapyans, an elderly couple, were shot in their home with their ears being cut off by Azerbaijani military. They also executed a 92-year-old Marousya Khalapyan and tortured 104-years old Hayka grandmother, who by the way is 6 years older than Azerbaijan itself as a country. All the killed and tortured persons were elderly and reasonably infirm.
Moreover, the servicemen of Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army, Kyaram Sloyan, Hayk Toroyan, Hrant Gharibyan were beheaded by Azerbaijani troops. Yes, beheaded n an ISIS-style way. Numerous photos in social network are a real evidence of cruel treatment of Azerbaijani soldiers posing with the head of Kyaram Sloyan as a trophy. Later the head was transferred to local Azerbaijani population demonstrating it as a trophy encouraging hatred and aggression towards Armenians. No action by official Baku has followed to punish the guilty. By doing so Azerbaijan once more violated numerous international treaties, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, European Convention on Human rights, Geneva Conventions on protection of victims of war and many others. Another episode includes torture of Prisoners of War and mutilation of bodies of 18 dead Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army soldiers, handed over to Nagorno-Karabakh authorities in presence of the representatives of the IRC a week after the hostilities.
The Azerbaijani forces and armed militants have committed multiple terrorist acts against the Nagorno-Karabakh troops and the civilian population, which are defined as war crimes and crimes against humanity under the international law. Both the Azerbaijani authorities and persons who have committed military crimes must be held accountable for the breaches of the international law and the war crimes.
I call upon the Parliamentary Assembly to explicitly condemn the brutalities committed by Azerbaijani armed forces and to urge the Government of Azerbaijan to ensure proper investigation of crimes committed against Nagorno-Karabakh civilians and hors de combat. I also call the international community to take appropriate measures to prevent further grave breaches of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international law in general.”
The speech by the Member of the RA NA Delegation to PACE Levon Zurabyan
On 2 April Azerbaijan launched a large scale military operation over entire line of the contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, causing first serious outbreak of war after the ceasefire, signed by defense ministers of Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan in 1994 and largely held since then.
The 4-day-long war has taken a serious toll on human life on both sides of the line of the conflict and enormously endangered the security in the region. By seeking a military solution to the conflict, Azerbaijan has once again demonstrated its utter disrespect to the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh - the very people they consider as citizen of Azerbaijan - to live in security and freely exercise their right to choose their own fate.
This is exactly why this conflict started in the first place. When Nagorno-Karabakh opted in favor of independence from Azerbaijan through legal means, including the 1988 decision of its parliament and the 1991 referendum for independence, what followed was Azerbaijan's efforts to suppress the self-determination through ethnic pogroms and cleansing and military actions.
In 1991 Azerbaijan, in cooperation with Soviet troops, uprooted the Armenian population of 24 villages in Nagorno-Karabakh, and in 1992 its disproportionate bombardment of Stepanakert took more than one thousand lives. It is in response to such actions that the self-defense forces of Nagorno-Karabakh created the security zone around it.
The current peace plan proposed by the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group envisages the recognition of the self-determination right of Nagorno-Karabakh people to be expressed in the internationally recognized referendum on its final status and provision of international security guarantees interconnected with the return of the security zone.
Azerbaijan, however, refuses to negotiate in good faith, rejects direct negotiations with Nagorno-Karabakh and refuses to accept ceasefire strengthening measures such as removing snipers and enhancing the monitoring mission.
For a decade it was busy with military buildup, the only purpose of which is to exterminate Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh rather than reach reconciliation with them. The international community should ensure that Azerbaijan respects one of the most fundamental principles of international order - refraining from threat or use of force for resolution of conflicts.