The members of the European Parliament (EP) – Marina Kaljurand, Chair of the Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, Željana Zovko, the European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Azerbaijan and Andrey Kovatchev, the European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Armenia made a joint statement on March 23, 2020.
Javanshir Feyziyev, Azerbaijani MP, Co-Chair of the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Co-operation Committee, issued a statement in response to the aforementioned document.
Javanshir Feyziyev asserts that the Joint Statement, reiterating the allegations by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) on mistreatment of Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijan shows the inclination of the MEPs to voice the biased claims of certain institutions, instead of acquainting themselves with the real situation. Rather, it would have stood to reason if the said EP rapporteurs had obtained information concerning the claims in question using the existing co-operation platforms before releasing such an unfounded statement.
The MEPs undersigned to the Joint Statement should be informed that all the Armenian POWs and civilians held in Azerbaijan were treated in compliance with the 1949 Geneva Convention. They were given the required health care; they underwent medical checks during the holding period. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross had been visiting all the Armenian POWs regularly beginning in October 2020 and, finally, all the POWs were released and returned to the Armenian side in accordance with the pertaining provisions of the Trilateral Statement dated 10 November 2020.
But the members of the group sent by the Republic of Armenia to the Azerbaijani territory for sabotage and subversive activities after the signing of the Trilateral Statement who were apprehended by the Azerbaijani side eventually cannot be considered as POWs but are liable pursuant to the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. They, too, are being treated in accordance with the international human rights laws and the legislation of Azerbaijan, Javanshir Feyziyev maintains.
The Azerbaijani side views as unfounded the claim in the Joint Statement of the failure of the Azerbaijani Government to comply with the interim measures of the European Court of Human Rights. Continuing, Javanshir Feyziyev deplores the fact that the authors of the Joint Statement would have made such an allegation without scrutinising all the particulars of the subject-matter first. Azerbaijan honoured its commitments by keeping the ECHR informed of the health and holding conditions of the persons who are accused of the use of force and of terror attacks against the citizens of the Azerbaijan Republic.
The MEPs who are laying unfounded allegations about Azerbaijan whilst claiming their advocacy of the international laws' observance and referring to the biased and baseless HRW argumentation should know that almost 4,000 Azerbaijanis went missing in combat zones during the First Karabakh War. Still, neither the European Parliament nor any other European institution has ever displayed whatever interest in the fate of the Azerbaijanis held in Armenia as captives.
It is regrettable that the EP rapporteurs are equally unconcerned by the large-scale mining of the Azerbaijani territories that had been occupied for close to 30 years and by Armenia having refused, since the de-occupation of those territories and to date, to give Azerbaijan the minefield maps. The EP rapporteurs should be aware that mine explosions have cost the lives of 20 and caused grievous bodily injuries to 80 people more in the liberated territories ever since hostilities was stopped under the Trilateral Statement.
The response statement by Javanshir Feyziyev, the Member of the Milli Majlis and Co-Chair of the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Co-operation Committee, says further that our colleagues in the EP have repeatedly been invited, during our post-war contacts, to visit Azerbaijan in order to learn the real situation first-hand. It is regrettable that, instead, the MEPs have elected not to visit the region, not to find out the truth for themselves but to rely on fake information provided by Armenian sources and adopt such a biased standpoint. This undermines the confidence that the Azerbaijani society has in the European Parliament.