Armenian human rights defender slams Azerbaijan for politicizing the issue of POWs

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YEREVAN, January 12. /ARKA/. Armenia’s human rights defender Arman Tatoyan slammed today Azerbaijan for politicization the issue of Armenian prisoners of war. ‘Azerbaijan is openly abusing legal processes,’ Tatoyan said on Tuesday.

Earlier, Azerbaijan’s Permanent Representative to the UN sent a letter to the UN Secretary General and circulated it to the Security Council and the General Assembly, in which Azerbaijan portrays 62 Armenian prisoners of war as terrorists. Azerbaijan claims that they were sent from Armenia to commit terrorist actions against the Azerbaijani people and were captured as a result of an anti-terrorist operation.

‘The question is very distorted and it is obvious that the Azerbaijani side is politicizing the issue. It is absolutely unacceptable to politicize issues related to humanitarian law and human rights in the post-war period,” Tatoyan said.

He said that after the end of hostilities all POWs must be returned to their countries and initiating a criminal case against them is prohibited, and their arrest is also prohibited by international law.

According to him, deliberate dragging out the issue is also considered a war crime and this is all provided for by international conventions, which apply to Azerbaijan as well.

On December 14, some 44 Armenian prisoners of war and other captivates were brought home by a Russian military plane from Azerbaijan and 12 Azerbaijani citizens were flown to Baku.

Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier agreed to “all for all” swap of POWs. The exact data on the number of Armenians captives or soldiers gone missing during the war in Artsakh is not known.

On December 28 another four Armenian prisoners of war were repatriated with the mediation of Russia and the International Committee of the Red Cross.-0-

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