Some of the Armenian detainees in a photo distributed by Azerbaijani state media. (Eurasianet.org photo)

Indictment Read out at Trial of 14 Armenian POWs in Azerbaijan

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BAKU (Panorama) — The Baku Court on Grave Crimes on Tuesday, June 29, resumed the illegal trial of 14 Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) accused of terrorism, with the prosecutor reading out the indictment.

According to the indictment, “having illegally acquired firearms, ammunition, explosives and devices”, they allegedly created “armed groups” and from November 27 to December 13, took up combat positions in the forest areas of Artsakh’s Hadrut region and committed “terrorist acts” in this territory, Azerbaijani media reported.

The POWs were charged under four articles of Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code. The criminal case together with the indictment approved by the deputy prosecutor general of Azerbaijan was sent for consideration to the court.

Many experts, US and European lawmakers have urged Azerbaijan to end the sham trial of Armenian prisoners of war, pointing to a clear violation of international humanitarian law.

According to a report by Public Radio of Armenia, the Armenia has drawn the attention of the UN Human Rights Council to a series of spurious lawsuits against Armenian Prisoners of War in Azerbaijan.

Addressing the 46th session of the Council, Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Mission in Geneva Andranik Hovhannisyan said on June 28, “The European Court of Human Rights adopted 201 interim measures with regard to the combatants and civilians of Armenian origin detained by Azerbaijan, but the latter refused to acknowledge the detention of most of them, failed to meaningfully cooperate with the said Court and launched proceedings against 58 detainees, even though the international humanitarian law (IHL) specifically requires to set POWs free after hostilities.”

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“Should any charges be filed, IHL prescribes fair trails based on presumption of innocence and right to be tried by an independent and impartial court,” the ambassador noted.

“Azerbaijan violates all these norms. It failed to provide prior notification about judicial proceedings, to specify the charges, as well as to extend appropriate legal assistance to the detainees. None of them is represented by a lawyer of their choice in a country where independence of courts is basically non-existent. The judge, who presides over the trials, is notorious for the politically-motivated sentences imposed upon several Azerbaijani HRDs,” the Ambassador noted.

 

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