ECHR received requests concerning 241 Armenian and Azerbaijani captives

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YEREVAN, February 4. /ARKA/.The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said on 15 January and 1 February 2021, respectively, it received the complete applications in the inter-State cases Azerbaijan v. Armenia and Armenia v. Azerbaijan.

Previously, on 27 September and 27 October 2020 the Court received requests for interim measures, lodged respectively by Armenia and Azerbaijan.

On 29 September 2020 it granted an interim measure under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Taking the view that the developing situation gave rise to a risk of serious violations of the Convention, it called upon both Armenia and Azerbaijan to refrain from taking any measures, in particular military action, which might entail breaches of the Convention rights of the civilian population, including putting their life and health at risk, and to comply with their obligations under the Convention, notably in respect of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment).

In a statement of 4 November 20202 , the Court clarified that the States were under an obligation to respect also the Convention rights of those captured during the conflict and those whose rights might otherwise be violated.

In addition, the Court has received numerous requests under Rule 39 concerning alleged captives, lodged by the Government of either Armenia or Azerbaijan or by relatives of the captives.

The requests received so far concern 241 individuals, 228 Armenians and 13 Azerbaijanis. The Court has invited the respondent Government to provide information on the individuals concerned.

Simultaneously, the Court has either suspended the examination under Rule 39 when the respondent Government have provided adequate information on their captives or applied Rule 39 when the Government have not given sufficient information or have not given any information at all.

The above-mentioned inter-State applications contain allegations of widespread violations of the Convention by the respondent States during the hostilities starting on 27 September 2020, including indiscriminate attacks on civilians as well as civilian and public property and infrastructure; executions, ill-treatment and mutilations of combatants and civilians; the capture and continued detention of prisoners of war; and the forced displacement of the civilian population in areas affected by the war.

On December 14, 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. Another four Armenian prisoners of war were repatriated on December 28 with the mediation of Russia and the International Committee of the Red Cross. So far, 59 Armenians, both civilians and soldiers, have been repatriated from Azerbaijani as part of exchanges between the two sides.

Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier agreed to “all for all” swap of POWs. However, more than two months after the fighting stopped, Azerbaijan still holds unknown dozens of Armenian prisoners of war.

On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijani armed forces, backed by Turkey and foreign mercenaries and terrorists, attacked Nagorno-Karabakh along the entire front line using rocket and artillery weapons, heavy armored vehicles, military aircraft and prohibited types of weapons such as cluster bombs and phosphorus weapons.

After 44 days of the war, on November 9, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a statement on the cessation of all hostilities. According to the document, the parties stopped at where they were at that time. The town of Shushi, the districts of Agdam, Kelbajar and Lachin were handed over to Azerbaijan, with the exception of a 5-kilometer corridor connecting Karabakh with Armenia.

A Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed along the contact line in Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor. Internally displaced persons and refugees are returning to Karabakh and adjacent regions, prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons and bodies of the dead are being exchanged.-

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