According to official data, there are 55 Armenian captives in Azerbaijan. However, it is unofficially known about a much larger number of captives. International law expert Siranush Sahakyan announced this at a press conference Thursday.
According to her, it is officially confirmed that 6 Armenian civilians, 41 Armenian soldiers, and 8 former high-ranking political and military figures of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) are currently in Azerbaijani captivity, and they are considered political prisoners. In addition, there are unofficial data on at least 80 Armenian military personnel and civilians in Azerbaijani captivity. But no efforts are made to find out their fates, Sahakyan stated.
The international law expert noted the problem of the impossibility of visiting these Armenian captives. The Azerbaijani authorities allow only representatives of the ICRC to visit them, and the captives have not been able to meet with representatives of independent organizations fighting against torture. As a rule, ICRC visits are also delayed. In the case of high-ranking Artsakh figures, it took place only a few weeks later.
"All returned persons testify to ill-treatment and torture. Comparing the data, we believe that there is no mechanism in Azerbaijan that rules out torture. In the conditions of the ban on the visits by independent experts, such inhumane, degrading treatment continues," Sahakyan noted.
At the same time, she noted that many organizations connect the issue with international humanitarian law, and the main role in this regard is assigned to the ICRC.
"I consider such an approach unacceptable. The mandate of the ICRC does not seek to give a legal assessment to the facts of torture. The ICRC cannot even publicly announce such facts," said Siranush Sahakyan, adding that the UN rapporteurs had tried to visit Azerbaijan, but were unsuccessful.