Armenian MoD: We Will Hold Azerbaijan Legally Responsible
STEPANAKERT, NKR (A.W.)—The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh) said the bodies of 18 servicemen of the NKR Defense Army, killed as a result of the large-scale military aggression carried out by Azerbaijani Armed Forces on April 2-5, were transferred to the NKR side in an exchange of bodies on April 10. All bodies exhibited signs of torture and mutilation, officials said.
The exchange took place between NKR and Azerbaijan near the Bash Karvend settlement, and was done through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Office of the Personal Representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman in Office, according to a statement published by the press service of the NKR Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Following the exchange, the NKR State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages, and Missing Persons registered that all of the bodies of the deceased servicemen transferred by Azerbaijan had visible signs of torture and mutilation, according to the statement, which condemned the acts as running counter to the laws and customs of war and in violation of international humanitarian law.
“The Karabagh side will seek to ensure that such behavior of the Azerbaijani side is condemned in the strongest terms by the international community and the specialized agencies, and those responsible are brought into account,” read the statement.
In a tweet on April 11, the NKR Ministry of Defense said it would give the Azerbaijani side a chance to continue the search for bodies. The tweet also mentioned that the fate of at least one NKR solider remains unclear. It also noted that inquiries about the missing NKR serviceman have been made via the ICRC.
Mutilated Corpse of NKR Serviceman Buried Twice
One of the soldiers killed in Martakert during the recent Azerbaijani attacks, 20-year-old ethnic Yezidi Kyaram Sloyan, was reburied on April 9, when his head—cut-off by Azerbaijani armed forces during the attacks in Martakert—was returned to his family, reported Armenia’s Yerkir news.
“We did not know that he was beheaded when they [Azerbaijan] transferred his body. We only learned about that later,” Kyaram’s father told RFE/RL’s Armenian service, Azatutyun.am.
The father explained that once the family received the remains, Kyaram’s coffin was taken out of the ground and reburied. “Three or four of them—[Kyaram], his officer, and other servicemen—did not allow [the Azerbaijani forces] to advance, fighting until they were out of bullets. His officer, who was hurt, told Kyaram to escape, but he told him he wouldn’t leave him alone,” he said.
Armenian MoD: ‘We Will Hold Azerbaijan Legally Responsible’
Armenia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed the exchange of bodies between NKR and Azerbaijan in a press statement on April 11, and said that authorities in both Armenia and NKR are in the process of compiling evidence of the crimes, and will continue to raise the issue of Azerbaijan’s violations of international humanitarian law in international arenas.
On the same day, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian also met Jeffrey D. Feltman, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who is visiting Yerevan. According to a press statement released by the ministry, Nalbandian presented Feltman with the facts about Azerbaijan’s aggression in the latest conflict, and stressed the importance of the unequivocal position that the international community must take on the impermissibility of military actions.
During the meeting, Feltman expressed deep concern for the escalation of the situation in the conflict zone, emphasizing that the U.N. has expressed its joint position, including its unconditional support to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ efforts for the exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, thousands marched in silence in Yerevan on April 10, in memory of the servicemen killed on the NKR Line of Contact over the past week. Participants marched to the Yerablur Military Cemetery, where they paid tribute to the fallen soldiers by holding a candlelight vigil.