Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of violating international humanitarian law with its treatment of an Armenian army officer who was taken prisoner late last week.
The Azerbaijani military claims that the junior officer, Gurgen Alaverdian, was captured during a failed Armenian commando raid on one of its frontline positions north of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian Defense Ministry strongly denies this, saying that Alaverdian simply lost his way due to poor weather.
Azerbaijan’s government-controlled online media published on Tuesday an amateur video of Azerbaijani servicemen insulting and humiliating Alaverdian shortly after his capture.
Another video circulated by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry the following day, shows the serviceman saying in broken Armenian that he led a special army unit that planned to carry out “sabotage” attacks in Azerbaijan.
The Defense Ministry in Yerevan shrugged off the footage, saying that Alaverdian was clearly forced to read out a written text badly translated into Armenian.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said, for its part, the “degrading treatment” of the officer amounts to a gross violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention on prisoners of war.
“Such practice represents a distinctive method of notorious terrorist organizations and, as we can observe, of Azerbaijan as well,” the ministry said in a statement released late on Thursday.
“Azerbaijan’s dictatorial regime feeding its people with disgraceful propaganda and Armenophobia covers up serious setbacks suffered by its armed forces in the July battles [on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border] by coercing the prisoner of war to read out its sham narratives,” it charged.