YEREVAN, JANUARY 31, ARTSAKHPRESS. On January 27, 2023 the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteurs published the letter they addressed to the Government of Azerbaijan which has remained unanswered.
Azerbaijan was addressed by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences and Working Group on discrimination against women and girls, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 44/5, 43/20, 51/21, 50/7 and 50/18.
The abovementioned letter concerns the unlawful killings of Armenian Prisoners of War and civilians, as well as torture and ill-treatment of Armenian Prisoners of War, by Azerbaijani armed forces and the desecration of bodies of dead Armenian soldiers, including women, during Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia unleashed on 13 September, 2022.
The Mandates of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences and the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls published the letter because Azerbaijan failed to respond to their query within the defined period of time (60 days).
The Special Rapporteurs noted that what had happened could amount to various war crimes in contravention of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, of which Azerbaijan is a party. “The killing of POWs or detained civilians captured during or in the context of combat, is strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law, and if confirmed, may constitute war crimes. Similarly, conduct that endangers protected persons or objects or violates important values, such as by the disrespectful handling of human remains corpses, may also constitute war crimes. Azerbaijan has the duty to treat any Armenian detainees humanely and without discrimination in full compliance with its obligations under international humanitarian law.”
Azerbaijan is also violating the protection against discrimination and violence against women contained in article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by Azerbaijan on 10 July 1995; and the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health contained in article 12 and 2.2 of the 4 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Azerbaijan also acceded to on 13 August 1992.
Thus, being a party to the UN fundamental documents, Azerbaijan is grossly violating them and doesn’t cooperate with the highly important bodies supervising the human rights such as the mandated UN special rapporteurs. Furthermore, Azerbaijan doesn’t take into consideration the tasks given by the UN bodies.
The UN special rapporteurs who signed the letter are expressing deep concern around the presented cases and are calling on Azerbaijan to take all possible measures to end such violations, prevent their repetition and ensure that all those responsible for the crimes are held to account.
The UN Human Rights Council special rapporteurs also noted that they haven’t received a response from Azerbaijan on the factual and legal reasons for not releasing prisoners of war after the ceasefire in November of 2020. Azerbaijan also hasn’t responded as to what actions it is taking for the families of the forcibly displaced receive information about their fate.