The Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum expresses its deep concern with the recent escalation of armed conflict along the borderline of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Mountainous Karabakh in July-August, 2014, which were accompanied with negligence of Humanitarian Law and constitute a serious threat to security and stability throughout the region. Particularly, in the tense situation of the recent months there were gross violations of the norms enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, consistent with the war crimes provided by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The culmination of these violations was the Azerbaijani army’s inhumane, degrading and cruel treatment of the 33-year-old resident of Chinari village, Tavush region of Armenia, Karen Petrosian who was found in a territory controlled by Azerbaijan on August 7, 2014 under the unknown circumstances and died one day after, in suspicious circumstances. According to Articles 35 and 36, of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Petrosian being a civilian, was entitled to be freely repatriated to Armenia. Azerbaijani side, however, claimed that Petrosian is a saboteur, although according to international law, even saboteurs have the right to humane treatment and fair trial. Petrosian’s dead body is not handed over to his family up to date.
It is especially disturbing that such acts of violence and inhuman treatment are combined with large-scale propaganda campaigns for hatred and war, boosting the image of the enemy and justifying all kind of atrocities against the other party. And the public figures, human rights activists and journalists, who are committed to democracy and the principle of overcoming controversies through dialogue, are subjected to unprecedented pressure.
Viewing the described incident as yet another tragic demonstration of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and recognizing the threat of military action, the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
Calls the parties to:
- Find a way to the peaceful settlement of the conflict by means of negotiations, based on the European principles of constructive cooperation, tolerance, mutual understanding and trust. Discuss the possibility and conditions of signing a peace agreement, as a milestone within the peace process.
- Until then, strictly prohibit any encroachment on behalf of the armed forces under their command towards civilians and civilian objects; targeting of the population engaged in agricultural activates in borderline territories; as well as to withdraw snipers from the both sides of the contact line.
Urges the parties to:
- Take necessary actions to create opportunity to address the International Fact-Finding Commission, for unbiased investigation of war crime evidences and to hold the perpetrators accountable under the international criminal law;
- Encourage the dialogue of civil society and media representatives as a trust-building exercise. Stop the prosecution of those individuals and organizations who are willing to cooperate and find a basis for a peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict;
- The Republic of Azerbaijan to sign and ratify the Additional Protocols 1 and 2 of the Geneva Conventions, as well as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;
- The Republic of Armenia to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court signed on October 10, 1999.
- Armenia and Azerbaijan have both ratified the four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, taking responsibility to adhere all the norms of the International Humanitarian Law during armed conflicts, including: not to bombard the civilian settlements and civilian objects, abide all the norms of treatment of prisoners of war enshrined in the Third Geneva Convention;
- The action of the Human Rights norms enshrined in the international conventions does not stop during the armed conflicts and wars; in addition, the norms of the International Humanitarian Law start acting as well.
- The newly formed European Commission and other EU institutes, urging them to continue their efforts towards the establishment of security guaranties in the South Caucasus and throughout the EaP region, and strengthen the support to OSCE Minsk group, as well as other official, civil and professional initiatives which contribute to peaceful negotiations and dialogue.
- The International Committee of The Red Cross to continue develop the International Humanitarian Law awareness-raising projects for the schools and other educational institutions, as well as for the armed forces’ compounds of the conflicting parties, which would help to raise the awareness on the norms of the International humanitarian law and will prevent the war crimes and the crimes against humanity.
- All the national platforms of EU Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, urging them to join this statement.
September 19, 2014, Yerevan
Armenian National Platform of
EU Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum