The long lasting so-called frozen conflict of Nagorno Karabakh resulted in de-facto capitulation of Armenia and declaration dated 10 November 2020 between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. The declaration was a clear reflection of Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia but was not limited to that. Thus, the document also includes provisions on military prisoners’ exchange between Azerbaijan and Armenia in accordance with International Humanitarian Law. The major mission of the mentioned law is diminishing human suffering as a result of war and conflicts. Serious violation of such a law shall be regarded as a war crime.
After the above mentioned declaration the conflict sides agreed on exchange of prisoners in accordance with “all for all” principles. It means the parties shall release all prisoners at the same time unconditionally. But, Azerbaijani side returned three times more military prisoners than the Armenian side. Either Azerbaijani side captured more prisoners, or the Armenian side killed most of the captured prisoners which is a serious crime in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.
But the major question here is “whether the status of the prisoners captured before and after the declaration signed on 10th of November 2020 is the same”. From legal point of view, the answer is “no”. Therefore, by signing the mentioned declaration the Armenian Government agreed on cease-fire and any military groups fighting in Azerbaijani territories post ceasefire shall be regarded as terrorist groups, not as military prisoners. De-jure the acts of such terrorist groups are not supported by the government of Armenia. Any terrorist act by such groups in the territory of Azerbaijan Republic is not just a serious violation of International Law also a crime by Azerbaijani legislation. Armenian terrorist groups captured after the declaration in the territory of Azerbaijan will be prosecuted by the General Prosecutor Office of Azerbaijan Republic, will be judged by the courts of Azerbaijan in according to domestic legislation.
International organizations and International community must strongly condemn any terroristic acts in the territory of Azerbaijan by Armenian military groups. Armenian government must be pressured by International community and shall take some serious measures to force such groups to leave Azerbaijani territories. Any political achievement shall not be made by means of unlawful acts and terrorism. Otherwise such acts may spread to the whole region and get a global character.
This article was prepared as a general information by the attorneys of Baku Attorneys & Consultants (BAC), Azerbaijani law firm. BAC is a full service law firm based in Baku and it has a strong team of highly experienced attorneys and consultants, specialized in rendering various expert services to foreign and local clients in Azerbaijan. Please, feel free to reach us via www.batco.az.