Khachatourian: International Community’s Tepid Reaction to Safarov Release

Public outrage around the world is on the rise following Hungary’s extradition on Aug. 30 and Baku’s subsequent pardon of Ramil Safarov, the axe murderer who killed an Armenian soldier in 2004 and received a life sentence for the crime in 2006. U.S., European and other stakeholders’ reaction, however, has been tepid at best, expressing “concern” about the incident, but failing to issue terse condemnation to Hungary and Azerbaijan for their brutal breech of justice and international law.

A scene from the funeral of slain Armenian soldier Gurgen Margaryan

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs scrambled over the weekend to manage the crisis and the impact this issue will have on the peace process. Reportedly at the urging of Armenia, the co-chairs—Robert Bradtke of United States, Igor Popov of Russia, and Jacques Faure of France—along with the personal representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office, Andrzej Kasprzyk, met separately with Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Paris over the weekend.

The co-chairs “…expressed their deep concern and regret for the damage the pardon and any attempts to glorify the crime have done to the peace process and trust between the sides,” read an official statement released following the meetings that reiterated the imperative for a peaceful solution to the Karabagh crisis.

The White House issued a statement saying, “This action is contrary to ongoing efforts to reduce regional tensions and promote reconciliation. The United States is also requesting an explanation from Hungary regarding its decision to transfer Safarov to Azerbaijan.”

Likewise, the State Department said it was “troubled” by the extradition and pardon, and “We are expressing our deep concern to Azerbaijan regarding this action and seeking an explanation. We are also seeking further details from Hungary regarding the decision to transfer Mr. Safarov to Azerbaijan.”

Similar restrained expressions of “concern” were made by the EU’s Catherine Ashton and Stefan Fule, as well as the foreign ministers of France and Russia, the latter going a step further by saying that the actions by Baku went against international norms.

The strongest statement was made by the secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, of which Armenia is a member. “This move, which apparently was made for some political reasons, cannot be justified. Making a hero out of the criminal will only contribute to the escalation of the already high tension in the region. I am convinced the international community will not hesitate to give an impartial assessment to what happened,” said Nikolay Bordyuzha of the CSTO in his statement.

It took Hungary three days to summon the Azeri ambassador to Budapest to demand an explanation from Azerbaijan for reneging on its promise that Safarov would serve out his life sentence in Azerbaijan.

“Hungary refuses to accept and condemns the action of Azerbaijan, which contradicts the relevant rules of international law and sharply contrasts the undertaking of the Azerbaijani side in this matter, confirmed by the Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Azerbaijan in his letter of Aug. 15, 2012 addressed to the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice of Hungary,” the document read.

Yet, the most egregious non-response is from NATO. Hungary is a NATO member. NATO invested a great deal of capital in advancing the “Partnership for Peace” program—the reason Ramil Safarov and Gurgen Margaryan were in Hungary in 2004. Yet, NATO has yet to speak about this incident.

These stakeholders, who claim that the Karabagh conflict is of utmost importance, should have strongly condemned both Hungary and Azerbaijan for their callous disregard for human life, which can have far-reaching ramifications on the peace process.

This latest ploy by Azerbaijan to make a hero out of a murderer, and the international community’s refusal to express proper outrage and condemnation, signals their unwillingness to address the conflict in a just, unbiased way. The U.S., EU, and NATO have long colluded in curtailing the fundamental rights of Karabagh citizens to self-determination. With this latest move, it is clear they will continue to pursue their failed policies of artificial even-handedness at the risk of harming the national security of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.


  1. Ara, very well said. Thank you for your heartfelt comments. The comments has been very tepid, from Europe, and the US. The Nato, Azerbaijan, and the Hungarians are responsible for the criminal, callous, and ruthless activity of the Azeri animal. First of all the Nato MUST provide a very safe environment, for the Nato soldiers, 24hrs/day, for the fighting, studying, or sleeping. NATO, AZERBAIJAN, AND HUNGARY WERE NEGLIGENT, AND IRRESPONSIBLE. THEY ARE ALL LIABLE FOR THE DEATH OF THE DEFENSLESS ARMENIAN VICTIM, SO THERE IS ALWAYS A CONSEQUENCE FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR.




  2. This incident is a revelation of a seek society, and its leaders are the true reflection of the people. Azeri society is not much different then the Taliban we have come to know. Taliban destroyed numerous ancient cultural monuments, so did the Azeris in Nakhichevan near the Iranian border which was caught on tape. Both actions are based on hatred, ignorance and intolerance without basic consideration of cultural and human values. They shear same mentality and values. The main difference is that they have different style of outfit and that should not be deceiving.

  3. After this, if NAZI, sorry I mean NATO, fails to exclude Azerbaijan from its “projects” this effectively means that NATO approves of what Azerbaijan has done.

    In that case Armenia should triple the size of the Russian troops in Gyumri.

    As a response to NATO and as a shield against genocidal Turkey.

  4. Also, given the fact that Hungary is part of the European Union I am surprised and disappointed that the EU flag wasn’t burned in Yerevan alongside the Hungarian one!!!

    • Vrej,

      No, I was not kidding. Let’s assume that we have burned EU flag, what would it give us? True, It will make news headlines a few days, but that is pretty much it. While we live next to Turks and Azeri-Turks, we should never try to even out with them. We cannot solve this problem by burning flags.

  5. Is there any possibility of bringing a lawsuit against Hungry and/or Azerbaijan on an international tribunal for this and make them reverse their steps on legal bases?

  6. Sella;

    You are in a fantasy land. The Nato has no moral values…never follows the rules and the regulations.

    Vrej, I totally agree with you the EU and the Hungarian flags should have been burned in Yerevan. To show the world the outrageous act of the Nato…Azerbaijan, and the Hungary.

    The Nato is showing the world that they have no humanity, or compassion towards another human being. Their action speaks louder than their hollow words, CURRUPT TO THE CORE. NAZI? TIME WILL TELL.

  7. If we’re gonna bring an lawsuit against any other sovereign state in an international tribunal, wouldn’t Turkey be the first country to consider?

    Honestly, as indifferent as the Diaspora is to RoA needs, sometimes those primarily concerned with RoA are dismissive towards the Diaspora’s legitimate concerns about genocide recognition.

    • If possible, yeah lets bring a lawsuit against Turkey, nobody’s against that, but I think that has been tried. Besides, who says only one lawsuit could exist at one time, there could be many! (Easy on making sweeping, general statements such as, “Honestly, as …”

  8. Since before the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, Armenians have looked west and north to the Christian nations for aid. Our interlocutors have and always will fail us, although their help is essential. It will never be sufficient.

    NATO took no action when Turkey invaded Cyprus. The west will never protect us. It will at most clear its throat, mumble and forget. The west will always take the Turkish Ambassador’s call. The west did nothing when Hitler took Czechoslovakia.

    We need to learn, as the Israelis did, that only we can protect ourselves. Our friends and brothers in Armenia know this.

  9. Alex.

    I agree with you, one hundred percent. We should have taken Turkey to the International Tribunal Court, years ago, but never too late.

    We MUST have justice for all the Armenians that were killed, by the Ottoman Empire. We must insist on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and the complete reparation of the churches, schools, and all the properties. of the Armenians.

  10. After all, burning flags is worthless if not followed by action. In this case there was action, and so it was good. Hungary is a EU-country and therefor we should have burnt the EU-flag while cancelling relations with this sizable part of the EU.

    I repeat: the fact that Hungary is a EU-country is highly relevant. It is, thus, indirectly the European Union that has freed Safarov and now DEFENDS its decision:

    If Brussels doesn’t care to force Hungary to cut its diplomatic ties with Azerbaijan, then why should we not burn the EU-flag?

    Objecting to such a scenario is just silly.

  11. International Tribunal Court? The one in Hague? Please.

    That is not a court, but a Western tool.

    Also, all of the witnesses from 1915, both victims and perpetrators, are gone. So even if it WAS a court (which it isn’t) it wouldn’t work.

    It worked with the Bosnia case because that happened just a few decades ago and because the West was anti-Serbian, i.e. it had a self-interest in pursuing the case.

    I repeat: The International Criminal Court is NOT a court, but a political tool of the West.

  12. Dear co-posters.I assume most of you are very patriotic Young men and young women.Your comments as to the author’s article above is welcme indeed.
    But let me offer/suggest, what I have done already on other threads in this weekly forum.First and foremost is the RA president SErge Sarkissian’s very timely CONVENING *more then a week or so ago,a meeting with the foreign diplomats ,resident in Yerevan,explaining in detail to them what had transpired as rgds the release of this *either a madman, or a fierce Armenian Hater.A fanatic Ermeni hator,like most of his predecessor such,whi in 1905 massacred Armenians of Baku *notwithstanding the efforts put in their Oil industry there by Armenian Engineers/scientists and busineesmen like Lazarian., mantashev, later Gulbenkian etc.Whereas all they had put in was their workers as coolies and at most a head worker…
    then again maswsaxcring in 1918/20 more than 10,000 Armenians there….
    How can these be forgotten,I ask you.WE must bring to their attn that we are abreast of what is going on now<PLUS THE NOT FAR BACK PAST.
    Please, my suggestions are as follows./We must ask Gov.t of RA, pres. Sesrge Sarkissixan to Convene yet 2nd meeting and ask these non-commital stance diplomats to opine what their Govt.s are going to do.OTHER THAN CONDEMNING on Air*radio T.v. and press…..the azeri agression.Yes PLURAL AZERI AGRESSION SINCE THEIR PRESIDENT ALIev,sorry Ali Oghlu*they did not change though they speak Russian ,but the strict soviet rule over 70 yrs did not knock into their fascist heads BROTHERHOOD OF NATIONS, as the soviets shouted!!!
    Latter never learnt -not even today that a turk is a turk is a turk!!!!!
    Thence, after 2nd meeting if the heads of diplomacy in Yerevan do not agree to declaring ARtskah independent and recogtnized by their Gov.ts , our pres. should give thme 48 hours to think it over,consulting with their govt.s ..

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