Azerbaijan taking necessary measures regarding its citizens taken hostage by Armenians

Details added (first version posted at 15:29)

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 17

By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:

Azerbaijani State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing People is taking all necessary measures regarding the Azerbaijanis taken hostage by Armenians.

The commission said on July 17 that the fates of three Azerbaijanis, taken hostage by Armenians in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan's Kalbajar region are its priority.

The state commission also noted that the persons taken hostage, are under the trusteeship of the Geneva Convention, adopted on August 12, 1949, and the relation towards them should be regulated under this convention.

"But, Armenia's defense ministry is right when saying that they are not "prisoners of war", as these persons grew up in the Azerbaijani lands occupied by Armenia. And the relation to the civilians is regulated by the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, adopted August 12, 1949. This situation is fully reflected in the fourth article of the convention, and the appropriate international structures have been informed about this," the commission said.

"The persons taken hostage in the Kalbajar District did not violate the state border, as it was claimed by the Armenian side, and they were within the territory of Azerbaijan, recognized by the UN. The real border violator was Gevorgyan Yeghishe, who with his family consisting of five persons, violated the border of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in a car on January 10, 2010, and was detained by Azerbaijani soldiers."

"At that time Azerbaijan could have treated them as border violators, but, respecting international law, Azerbaijan based treatment on the international humanitarian law principles with regard to Gevorgyan and his family.

The most concerning thing is the fact that Armenian media, quoting the official structures, provide contradictory information, including the report that the detained persons are charged with murdering one civilian and one military man."

"Meanwhile, the "leaders" of the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh regime went further and made political statements that this issue will harm the settlement negotiation process."

The state commission stressed that giving a criminal or political hue to the subject is disrespectful towards international law norms, and the treatment of the detainees outside of these norms is unacceptable.

Aside from that, the state commission is concerned about the fact that unverified information is spread on this issue in the Azerbaijani media.

"In most cases, as the information is not specified and is provided quickly, it loses the essence and becomes a sensation," the commission said.

"Even with reference to a person who is not a relative of the hostages, they write that one of the detained called relatives and said that one of them was killed and another one's eyes were gouged out. As a result of the investigation it was found out that there has not been such a call to the relatives. In another case, it was reported that one of the detainees has a house and a shop, and he does not have anything to do with the matter. One can list many more examples."

Due to the fact that this issue is particularly sensitive, the state commission urges not to disseminate information that may harm the progress on this matter.

"The state commission will be constantly providing information to the public on the work done."

Earlier, the Armenian media reported that the Armenian forces, during an operation in the occupied Kalbajar District's Shaplar village, killed an Azerbaijani - Hasan Hasanov, and detained two other Azerbaijanis - Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov.

On July 15, the Azerbaijani State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing People said the fate of Azerbaijani citizens taken hostages in the Kalbajar District is its priority.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry dismissed the Armenian media reports on affiliation of the mentioned persons to the country's armed forces.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

Edited by CN

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