The Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) of Armenia Arman Tatoyan, as well the defenders at the ECHR of the interests of Armenian captives and human rights activists Siranush Sahakyan and Artak Zeynalyan, have issued a joint statement on the video publicized Tuesday—and with the participation of speaker Alen Simonyan of the National Assembly of Armenia.
In the video, he makes untrue assessments of the ombudsman and human rights activists' August 9 Special Public Report on Azerbaijan's accountability for torturing and inhumanely treating Armenian captives.
The aforesaid joint statement reads as follows, in particular:
First of all, we consider it inadmissible to videotape a person's private relations, dialogue, and disseminate it without his informed consent.
Regarding the attributions and qualifications voiced to the Joint Special Report, we note:
1. The Speaker of the RA National Assembly Alen Simonyan attributes non-existent facts to the joint special report, as, for example, he mentions that cases of rape of repatriated captives were registered in the report, whereas here is no word on rape in the report.
The personal extraordinary data of any one of the captives, including a photo and video, was never published in the Joint Special Public Report.
2. We would like to inform that in the Joint Special Public Report the international standards of fact-finding work were used in order to confirm the facts of torture of captives. In this respect, the fact-finding work on establishing the fact of torture does not imply that the human rights activist conducting the fact-finding must necessarily be present or involved in the torture process.
Those holding high positions are obliged to separate fact-finding work and complicity.
3. The Joint Special Public Report does not identify and does reveal repatriated captives who have been subjected to torture and inhuman treatment.
Instead, the Joint Special Public Report highlights the patterns and general forms of torture that, as a rule, have typically been used against Armenian captives in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, the Joint Special Public Report states that the forms and means of violence against captives were different in each case.
4. In addition to the abovementioned, the repatriated Armenian captives themselves have given interviews to various media outlets, openly presenting the tortures they were subjected to during their stay in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Moreover, during the investigation, the testimonies of the repatriated Armenian captives about torture and inhuman treatment were published by the RA investigative bodies.
5. We consider it necessary to emphasize that the provision of abstract information when submitting data on the torture and inhuman treatment of Armenian captives to international organizations has no effectiveness.
When initiating international legal processes, detailed and concrete data are needed, not statements and assertions.
Therefore, we strongly urge high-ranking officials to refrain from publicly speaking on such sensitive issues, not to exploit them for political or other purposes, as they are successfully used by Azerbaijan before international organizations, including the judiciary, to defend itself for its own benefit and to the detriment of the rights of the Armenian captives
Unrealistic statements or qualifications made by high-ranking officials about professional reports pose obstacles to human rights activities.