Մատչելիության հղումներ

Dozens Of Karabakh Civilians Still Missing After 2020 War


NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- An Azeri military truck drives along a street in the town of Hadrut, November 25, 2020

About two dozen civilian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh remain unaccounted for one year after the outbreak of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war, according to the authorities in Stepanakert.

“They are mostly elderly or disabled individuals who did not manage to leave their places of residence in the Hadrut, Shushi and Askeran districts [occupied by Azerbaijani forces,]” Gegham Stepanian, Karabakh’s human rights ombudsman, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Wednesday.

“I presume that those individuals too were subjected to torture or killed, but their bodies have not been handed over to the Armenian side to date,” he said. “It is also possible that some of them remain in Azerbaijani captivity. Azerbaijan does not provide any real information about their whereabouts.”

Stepanian claimed that 38 other Karabakh Armenian civilians were executed or tortured to death after being captured by Azerbaijani forces. He said their bodies recovered by Karabakh authorities bore traces of violence.

In December 2020, Britain’s The Guardian daily examined gruesome videos that show men in Azerbaijani army uniforms beheading two elderly men recognized by their Karabakh Armenian relatives and neighbors.

“The ethnic Armenian men were non-combatants, people in their respective villages said,” reported the paper.

“The villagers’ testimony in interviews with the Guardian corroborates identifications by a human rights ombudsman for the Armenian-backed local government and two prominent Armenian human rights lawyers preparing a criminal case relating to the murders,” it said.

So far Azerbaijan has admitted detaining only three ethnic Armenian civilians during the six-week war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire last November. It has denied ill-treating them or Armenian soldiers taken prisoner.

According to Baku, 93 civilian residents of Azerbaijani towns and villages shelled by the Armenian military were killed during the hostilities.

Stepanian’s office has reported 42 civilian deaths caused by Azerbaijani shelling of Karabakh.

The war also left at least 3,700 Armenian soldiers dead. According to Armenian authorities, 231 others remain unaccounted for.

Azerbaijan’s government has acknowledged more than 2,800 combat deaths in the Azerbaijani army ranks.

XS
SM
MD
LG