The European Court of Human Rights has received a total of 385 complaints sent on behalf of residents of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) in relation to the human rights violations committed during the Four-Day Artsakh War in April 2016.
The statement issued by lawyer-human rights activists reads as follows: “Out of the mentioned complaints, 22 complaints have been submitted on the ground of inhumane treatment against the applicants as a result of torturing the bodies of victims, respect to the personal right of the victims, lack of a legal protection measure and violation of the rights to not be subjected to discrimination on the ethnic ground. Issues on violation of the right of military servicemen to life and the right to not be subject to torture have been raised in three of those complaints. A complaint has been submitted on behalf of the relatives of the residents of Talish, challenging their murder and interference against their bodies, the inhumane treatment against the applicants, the legal protection measure and violations of the rights to not be subject to discrimination on the ground of ethnic belonging.
These 22 cases against Azerbaijan have been declared as acceptable and have been communicated to the Government of Azerbaijan for objections. The Government of Azerbaijan has submitted objections, and responses have been given to those objections. Currently, all the procedures are over, and judgments are expected. The European Court has not provided any information about the date of announcement of a judgment. We also deem it necessary to mention that the 22 cases are being examined through an accelerated procedure since the European Court prioritized those cases a short while after they were submitted.
The remaining 363 complaints concern harm to or elimination of the properties of civilians, as well as potential violations of their right to life caused by bombardments of cities and villages located near the line of contact.
It is also known that, on the ground of the events of April 2016, residents of Azerbaijan have submitted a large number of complaints against the Republic of Armenia.
The European Court of Human Rights has selected one complaint from the two batches of cases filed against the Republic of Armenia and Azerbaijan, including Khudunts vs Azerbaijan and Amrahov vs Armenia, and declared them as unacceptable upon two decisions rendered on 26 February 2019, concluding that even though Khudunts has submitted documents related to his home and land plot, he has failed to substantiate that his property was damaged as a result of bombardment, and Amrahov has not submitted documents substantiating his right of ownership. The Court applied the prima facie standard for both cases.
It is necessary to state the fact that the cases regarding the violations of human rights during the war in April 016 are similar to the large number of cases that the European Court of Human Rights received in relation to the conflicts of South Ossetia and Ukraine, and during examination of those cases, the Court has already established principles, including the evidentiary threshold and the standard of evidence of the damage caused as a result of the conflict. From this perspective, the Court’s decision on the case of Khudunts vs Azerbaijan is within the scope of the policy of the European Court of Human Rights and there are no purposeful deviations.
It should also be mentioned that declaring the aforementioned two complaints as unacceptable does not mean that the remaining cases will also be declared as unacceptable. The European Court examines all cases based on facts and evidence, taking into account the fundamental principles of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The working group will regularly provide additional information regarding further developments of each complaint that is communicated, as well as in the stage of being accepted."