State Comission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons

Armenian-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the context of international humanitarian law.   

The report of the Deputy Head of the working group of the State Commission on prisoners of war, Hostages and Missing persons E.Samadov on the international conference.


Dear Mr. Rector!
Dear members of the Commission!
Dear teachers, students, and friends!

Prior beginning the report, on behalf of the chairman of the State Commission Mr. Madat Guliyev, I welcome all of you, and also I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to you for the organization of todays conference. Since 1998, the authors of the idea of "Great Armenia" that have never existed in the history, have nominated territorial claims against Azerbaijan and since the separatism has been ignited in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Due to the proarmenian attitude of the leaders of former Soviet Union, the conflict has moved to the military confrontation, thereby it has caused such severe humanitarian problems like refugees, prisoners of war, hostages and missing persons. Therefore, in order to coordinate the activities of state organizations in search of missing persons have been established the State Commission on prisoners of war, hostages and missing persons. In accordance with the international humanitarian law, the Commission is closely collaborated with international organizations, particularly with ICRC. Another important direction had been the adoption international documents and fulfillment of the obligations that arise from them.

Investigation of missing persons, specification of the lists and statistics.

As a result of the investigations have been determined that more than 6 thousand Azerbaijan citizens have been captured by Armenian militaries. During this period, was possible to release 1435 Azerbaijan citizens from captivity (date 1 may 2016). Currently, 3801 person are registered in the State Commission as the missing persons (date 1 may 2016). Of these, 3094 person are servicemen, and 707 are civilians. 61 persons of these civilians were children (of these 20 are girls). In addition, 251 of the missing civilians are women, 299 are aged person (of these 299, 154 are women).
We have defined that 877 from 3801 missing persons did not leave their settlements, villages and cities during the occupation. The State Commission has information that Armenian side conceals these facts. According the information of witnesses, and the persons that have been released from captivity, have been compiled the list of hostages and missing persons. Despite the evidences, Armenian Republic denies the fact of captivity and detention of these persons.
Regarding this, the most serious and undeniable fact is the list of 50 Azerbaijan persons which names are mentioned in the letter of the ICRC. According to the letter, 50 Azerbaijan citizens have been captured during intensive military operation by Armenian troops and these citizens are detained in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Representatives of ICRC visited these prisons in the occupied territories and these prisoners are officially registered in ICRC. After that, the body of 16 persons of these 50 have extradited to their families, ultimate fate of the rest 34 persons is still unknown and are hiding by Armenian side.

Facts of violation of the international humanitarian law.

Since beginning of the conflict, Azerbaijan Republic has carried out all works regarding prisoners and hostages in accordance with the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. However, as invader side, Armenia has ignored all international agreements and broke the norms of all international humanitarian law. According to the investigations was possible to identify that 553 Azerbaijan citizens have been killed during Armenian captivity. Moreover, during the medical examination of persons which have liberated from Armenian captivity the experts found infection diseases.
Let consider the facts:
a) The facts of capture and detention of Azerbaijani citizens
- On February 26, 1992, during the occupation of Khojaly, in front of the eyes of the city residents, the boy forcibly separated from his relatives and has been taken in unknown destination. His late fate is also unknown.
- In addition, expelled from Armenia and sheltered in Khojaly, Mammedovs family have lived the same fate. 7 members of Mammedovs family took hostage by Armenian troops and after negotiation, Armenian side agreed to exchange mother Narxanim Mammedova and her three child, but Armenian side did not agreed to exchange father of the family Mammad Mammadov and his two sons, 17 years old Mohlat and 16 years old Sohbat. They took them in unknown destination.
- During the occupation of Kalbajar region by Armenian forces, March 31, 1993, the convoy of civilians that fled the region was fired by Armenian troops. According to the testimony of the witnesses, a part of the captured civilians have been killed and burned on the sport. Between the hostages were 3 years old Aygun Guliyeva and her little sisters and brothers.
b) Facts of killing and torture of hostages
- During the occupation of Khojavand region (17.02.1992), Armenian forces have shot 33 of 118 captured residents of Garadghli village. The fact has been affirmed by the released village residents.
- On April 1, 1993, during the large-scale attack to Kalbajar region, from Armenian military broadcasting station that headquarters in Vardenis region (GSM-7) was issued an urgent order to all mobile radio stations in Khalbajar region. In the order, Armenian military authorities demanded immediately elimination and bury of all Azerbaijan captivities, including aged persons, women and children. The cause of such hastiness was the visit of the international delegation and journalist to the combat zone and the purpose was to hide the evidences of barbarism and humanitarian crime against Azerbaijan civilians. The text of this radio transmission was recorded on April 6-7.
- On February 16, 1994, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenian Republic declared that 8 hostages were killed when they attempted to escape from captivity. However, during medical examination of the bodies of these hostages, the member of International Law and Social Medicine Academy and the member of "Doctor for human rights" organization (Great Britain), prof. D.Paunder has revealed that hostages were killed by the same gun and by the same close distance temple area gunfire. These facts negate the idea of killing hostages during the escape attempt.
- On 23 November 1993, in Yerevan military hospital, due to the long time of starvation, form severe cachexia medical diagnosis died hostage Ilham Nasirov.
- Another fact, Azerbaijan citizen Guljamal Guliyeva and his new born son Arzu Hajiyev were captured during occupation of Khalbajar (31.03.93). Armenian military "doctor" Aida Serobyan gave both of them unknown composition injections. As a result, Arzu Hajiyev was crippled and died in 2003. Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration if we will say that mass murder of hostages and prisoners of war is a habit of Armenian etnopsychology.
American agriculturist Leonard Ramsden Hartill based on the memories of the Armenian officer O.Apresian who was one of the active participants of mass massacre against Azerbaijan citizens in Erivan, Nakhchivan, Khars, Surmeli regions, wrote a book by the name "Men are like that?" During the conversation, O.Apresyan told that through support of Russia and England Armenians had achieved their goals. Moreover, he noted that only during March massacre in Baku were killed more than 25 thousand Azerbaijanis. O.Apresian recalls: "The main unit of our military forces in Western Armenia was collected in Garakilse city, which was located on the railway line, 60 km to Alexandropol. When Turks had approached to the city we stepped back to Garakilse and jointed with our main forces. At that time, we took 3 thousand Turk captives with us. They were captured by Russian but as a result of their withdrawal handed over to our forces. When we were stepped back 2 thousand of these poor captives were ruthlessly killed. I was witness of this mass massacre, this situation made me sick, but I did not dare to express my protest. A one portion of prisoners without any torture jut shot, but the big majority of prisoners were burned alive. Prisoners were gathered to the harvested hay fills barn and then from all side hit by fire.
Of course, we do not need any special technologies to prove the similarity between the facts that I brought from modern history. The facts confirm that despite the development of modern society and adoption of the international law norms, the attitude of Armenian servicemen to the prisoners of war and hostages has not changed, against it has gained the new shades of barbarism. Analyzes and investigations allow us to categorize detention conditions, behavior and attitude of Armenian servicemen to prisoners as follows:
- Against the requirements of the international humanitarian law, civilians had not been protected; they have been captured and in many cases kept in captivity for a long time (against 3th and 4th points of Geneva Convention);
- Without taking into account the age and sex of the prisoners, the prisoners and hostages were tortured and kept in inhumane conditions;
- Have not been created camps in accordance with Geneva Convention and in many cases the hostages were held in military units;
- Prisoners and hostages were held together with the persons that had committed serious crimes in Armenia;
- Prisoners and hostages were held by military commanders in individual homes and individual detention places and were utilized for dirty purpose;
- Against Geneva Convention, in order to get various information, prisoners and hostages were terrible tortured and illegally questioned;
- Prisoners and hostages have become an object of various medical experiments; their bodies were lighted and injected by unknown composition substances;
- Prisoners and hostages were instigated to commit insulting and derogatory acts against each other;
- Prisoners and hostages were forced to give testimony against each other;
- Were putted forward false accusations against hostages and they innocently were sentenced;
- Prisoners and hostages were kept in open square in cold and snowy weather and were forced to perform various movements of animals;
- Prisoners and hostages were forced to eat at the same dish with dogs and other animals;
- Finally, by all possible ways, prisoners and hostages have been concealed from international organizations.
Of course we can extend these categories, but al above mentioned facts enough to prove that Armenian forces were committed serious crime against Azerbaijan population and humanity. Unfortunately, the countries that have created and accepted international law norms are still continuing to create conditions for such kinds of crime.
c) Prisoners and hostages as an object of commerce
As mentioned above, in the beginning of the conflict the Armenian servicemen was attempted to sell prisoners and hostages, and through this prisoners and hostages have been turned to the object of trade. Previous investigations of the State Commission are proved that 69 Azerbaijan citizens were released from captivity via ransom. Of course, these are only known facts.
- In front of the eyes of 15 years old Nazakat Mamadova, Armenian servicemen were horribly tortured her father, cut off his ears, her mother did not tolerate to the threats and lost her mind, later the girl was sold to her family members;
- Nazarov Agshin Najmi Okhlu was captured by Armenian troops, during the occupation of Lachin town in 1992. In October 23, 1993, Armenian servicemen by the name Aram sold him to his family for 7.5 million Russian rubles.
- In August, 28, 1993, during the occupation of Fizuli region, the doctor of ambulance hospital, Shamsi Shixaliyev was captured by Armenian servicemen. In March 27, 1995, he was sold to his brother for 8 thousand dollar.

Sometimes the results were even worse. For example:

- In December, 31,1992 the brother (Isayev Gahangir Ismail ogly) and brother in low (Mammadov Mammad Garib ogly) of missing person Isayev Asker Ismail ogly negotiated with Armenian servicemen in Armenian-Georgian border. Via trick, Armenian servicemen took them to Armenia. Their later fates are still unknown.
- Another example: The soldier of Azerbaijan army Guliyev Khagani Nuraddin ogly, was missed during the battle in Agdara region on Febryary in 1993. By their own initiative, his relatives created connection with Armenians that had lived in Russia. They are convinced Khagani Guliyevs relatives that he still alive and said that would release him in exchange for 25 thousand dollar. With the help of relatives, the sum of many was collected, and in 1996 K.Guliyevs brother Mahir took the money to Russia. However, during the meeting Mahir Guliyev were killed, and the amount of money were taken by Armenians. In august of the same year, the body of Mahir Guliev was brought back and buried in Shamakhi.
d) The facts of forcing the prisoners and hostages to cooperation against Azerbaijan Republic
There are several facts that Armenian intelligence services through threats and blackmail forced hostages to cooperate and commit acts of terrors against Azerbaijan Republic. For example: In June, 1994, as a result of explosion between «28 May» and «Ganclik» stations were killed 13 persons, and 42 persons received various physical injuries.
The terrorist act was committed by the ethnic Lazghi descent citizen of Azerbaijan Republic Azer Aslanov who captured by Armenian troops in January 13, 1994. During the investigations was determined that in 14 January, 1994, one of the ideologists of Armenian occupation Zori Balayan met with Azer Aslanov. He instilled the importance of joint action of small populations against Azerbaijan. In June 9, 1994 the officer of Armenian intelligence service by the name Arthur called to Azer Aslanovs flat in Baku and informed that he is alive. He mentioned that for his release one of his close relatives should to come to Yerevan. After this, Azer Aslanovs mother arrived to Yerevan. Armenian intelligence services officers told Azer Aslanov that his mother life is under danger and via this threat he was involved in secret cooperation. In order to ensure his smooth arrive to Azerbaijan, Armenian intelligence services had made fake documents and hided explosive matters in boxes of chocolates and deodorants. In July 3, 1994 A.Aslanov had arrived to Baku and carried out terror attack on a train between «May 28" and "Ganjlik" stations.
After this, he had returned to Armenia and his mother was released. Several facts prove that Armenian intelligence services actively use prisons and hostages in intelligence-sabotage activities against Azerbaijan Republic. Armenian intelligence services are trying to implement terror and other hostile acts via the hostages and prisoners. During the investigations, had been revealed 107 hostages were involved in secret cooperation in captivity. Majority of them did not commit any act of sabotage; due to this fact most of them were not criminally prosecuted.
e) Politicization of the problem of hostages and prisoners and attempt to use it as a tool of psychological pressure
Recently, we observe that through hiding of bodies of soldiers, Armenian side tries to use humanitarian event as a tool of psychological pressure. For example: in the summer of 2010, the bodies of two Azerbaijan servicemen Mubariz Ibrahimov and Farid Ahmedov which had died as a result of repulsing the attack of Armenian units were not returned for a long time. Even if, the authorities of this country repeatedly declared that they did not have bodies of these Azerbaijan soldiers. Another fact: in order to visit the graves of their close relatives, three Azerbaijan citizens went to occupied Kalbajar region in June, 2014, two of them Dilgam Askerov and Shahbaz Guliyev had been taken hostage, and one of them Hasan Hasanov were killed by Armenian servicemen.
From the time of incident, the approach of Armenian side has been far from the humanitarian approach. In addition, Armenian side has approached to the incident from political-military aspect. They declared fabricated information as if Azerbaijan sent to Kalbajar sabotage-subversive group. By Azerbaijan Republic, the case has been lifted in front of the international organizations. But despite the efforts, as a result of the non-constructive position of Armenia it has not been possible to release the hostages. Moreover, the extradition of the body of Hasan Hasanov was overdue more than three months. In addition, Armenian side organized trial show regarding D.Askerov and Sh.Guliyev in Nagorno-Karabakh. The outrageous side of this trial was that it had been organized on 27 October, in a day of meeting of Armenian-Azerbaijan Presidents in Paris, which was organized via mediation of F.Olland. Through fabricated accusations like "violation of state border", "espionage" and etc., the first has been sentenced to the life imprisonment, the second one to 22 years of imprisonment.
Other tool of psychological pressure is giving the false information to hostages. Armenian intelligence services are trying to convince prisoners and hostages that after extradition to Azerbaijan they will be under pressure, and will criminally sentence. Another psychological pressure tool is to entice hostages through promise that they will be provided with an opportunity to live and work in Europe and via this the hostages instigated to refuse returning to their homeland. As a result of this propaganda 9 (nine) Azerbaijan military hostages were sent to the 3rd country. The bases of this kind of psychological pressure have been created by Armenian side. But the most salient example of violation of international humanitarian law by Armenian side is Khojali genocide.

The Initiatives of Azerbaijan Republic and international relationships.

The problem of hostages and missing people is always in the spotlight of the country leadership. The problem was discussed during the meetings of the president of Azerbaijan Republic Mr. Ilham Aliyev with ICRC president Mr.Y.Kellenberger in Baku in 2006 and in Davos in 2012, within "The World Economic Forum". The problem also was discussed during Azerbaijan-Armenian president`s meetings in Astrakhan in 2010 and in Sochi and Paris in 2014. These meetings are obvious examples of such attention.
As we see, the problems of missing people is always a priority for Azerbaijan Republic and therefore in the 58th session of the Commission on Human Rights of the UN, the resolution by the name "Missing person" was nominated by Azerbaijan Republic and has been adopted on April 25, 2002 (As a result of diplomatic negotiations, 17 countries were the co-author of the resolution). In later sessions, on March 10, 2006 has been adopted the resolution of the Commission on the status of women by the name "Release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts" (Report of the Secretary-General).
In December, 1999 the problems of searching hostages and missing persons were discussed in the political committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. As an initiation of Azerbaijan delegation, has been proposed the implementation of five-point principles. In December 30, 1999, the parliament of Azerbaijan Republic has declared statement regarding adoption of these principles. Despite the proposal of the Political Committee, Armenian parliament has not yet expressed its official position.

The Implementation of the national legislation.

In the Constitutional Act on the State Independence of Azerbaijan Republic (on 18.10.1991) "the honestly fulfillment of the international legal obligation" has been accepted as a main principle. In this context, have been carried out several important works, especially in regard of harmonization of related documents with international law requirements (particularly with international humanitarian law), fulfillment of the obligations arising from them, and as well as in regard of the adoption of special resolutions.
In April 1993, Azerbaijan Republic has adopted Geneva Conventions and Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Moreover many legislation acts of Azerbaijan Republic have been adapted to the requirements of theses conventions. For example: the laws of Azerbaijan Republic - "The protection of civilians and the protection of the rights of prisoners of war ", " Perpetuation the memory of those who died for their country", "Perpetuation of martyr name and benefits of martyr families", "Protection of historical and cultural monuments" and several decrees of the President of Azerbaijan Republic like on 19 December, 2006 decree "About establishment of personal scholars of the president of Azerbaijan Republic to martyr families", June 20, 2014, the decree of the President of Azerbaijan Republic "About additional measures, regarding the improvement of social living condition of those who have been disabled during the defence of territorial integrity, independence and constitutional order and martyr families, and etc. All principles and norms of international humanitarian law have been reflected in criminal, criminal procedural and civil codes of Azerbaijan Republic.
As we know as an initiative of the State Commission, has been created a joint group of Ministry of Interior Affairs, General Prosecutor Office, and State Security Service for the investigation of the "humanitarian crimes of Armenian forces and Nagorno-Karabakh military units". This group is still continuing its work. On the other hand due to the non-constructive position of Armenia is still not possible to settle the conflict. Therefore, we are still encountering with the facts of captivity and missing of persons. In August of last year, in April of this year, as a result of a sabotage of Armenian troops we faced with such circumstances.
It is also known that during the recent events Armenian side has received worthily respond and as a result of it, under leadership of the Commander-in-Chief, the strategic heights have been liberated by Azerbaijan troops. Unfortunately, we had losses, our soldiers become martyrs. Bodies of some soldiers remained in the territories under enemy control. In accordance with the instruction of the president, the State Commission with the participation of the relevant government agencies and international organizations made urgent measures. In accordance with mutual agreements, the bodies of the soldiers from both sides have been repatriated. During the process that carried out by participation of the State Commission, Ministry of Defense and with mediation of ICRC and OSCE, Armenian side violated the ceasefire and had attempted to conduct secret video recording.
As before, through targeting civilian population, Armenian side again proved that they do not respect the norms of international humanitarian law. The State Commission has condemned it immediately, we declared that it against the international humanitarian law and ordinary human values, and we officially brought our position in to the attention of ICRC. Moreover, we invited the opposition side to prevent from such illegal action.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight that all activities of the State Commission in detail were analyzed by the chairman of the State Commission, in order to accelerate the implementation of the purposed tasks by the president of Azerbaijan Republic, the chairman have set up the new requirements, duties and tasks in front of the State Commission. Currently, the working group is working towards the implementation of these tasks and duties. Dear students, I believe that you will analyze all provided information and through your possibility will deliver this information to the attention of international community. In addition, we are willing to listen your initiatives, opinions and recommendations.

Thank you for your attention!


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