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Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of “war crimes” after publication of Human Right Watch NGO report

The spokeswoman for Armenian diplomacy said on Friday that the NGO report proves that Azerbaijan has committed “large-scale war crimes” and also mentions “crimes against humanity”.
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Armenia accused Azerbaijan on Friday (March 19) of committing “war crimes” during the conflict between these two Caucasian countries last fall in the separatist region of Nagorno Karabakh.

The accusations come as the NGO Human Rights Watch released a report the same day indicating that the Azerbaijani army has “mistreated Armenian prisoners of war” submitting them to “cruel and degrading treatment as well as torture”. The NGO called on Baku to “release immediately” all remaining Armenian prisoners, civilian and military.

Armenian diplomacy spokeswoman Anna Naghdalian responded by saying the report proved Azerbaijan committed “large-scale war crimes” against Armenian prisoners. “Reports of ill-treatment and torture against Armenian prisoners of war show a systematic aspect”, she told AFP, adding that their prolonged detention could even raise “crimes against humanity”.

Baku, which rejects the charges, says all prisoners have been released and returned to Armenia. However, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Djeyhoun Baïramov said on Wednesday that Azerbaijan does not consider prisoners of war detained after the signing of the ceasefire last November.

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This ceasefire, negotiated by Moscow after six weeks of fighting that killed more than 6,000 people, involved significant territorial losses for the Armenian side and the deployment of Russian peacekeepers. In December, the NGO Amnesty International called on Baku and Yerevan to investigate war crimes committed by both sides.

While Armenia has yet to open any investigation, Azerbaijan arrested two of its soldiers in December accused of mutilating the bodies of Armenian soldiers.

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