The Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsperson) of Azerbaijan Sabina Aliyeva spoke about the mission of the delegation of Observatory Group on Karabakh, headed by the Chairman of the Turkish Organization for Human Rights and Equality Suleyman Arslan, in her interview with Trend.
According to Aliyeva, the main goal of the mission is to conduct an impartial and objective investigation to establish the facts of crimes against peace and humanity which were committed by Armenian political and military leadership in Azerbaijan’s formerly occupied territories [liberated from Armenian occupation as a result of the 2020 Karabakh war] and attacks of Armenia on Azerbaijani settlements [adjacent to the territories] during the war.
She said that despite the Azerbaijani territories’ liberation from the occupation, the anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, once planted in these areas, complicate their restoration process.
“We have repeatedly raised this issue in the relevant international organizations, urging them to put pressure on Armenia in connection with mine maps [to make it provide the maps to Azerbaijan], but, unfortunately, these organizations didn’t show a proper reaction. Nevertheless, we continue to work to expose the crimes of the political and military leadership of Armenia against peace and humanity,” the ombudsperson noted.
“In this regard, we invite delegations of international structures and organizations, as well as national human rights institutions of foreign countries, with which we cooperate to our country, to conduct investigations in situ. The Turkish Organization for Human Rights and Equality has been invited to the country namely for this purpose," Aliyeva further said.
She also noted that on her initiative, a foreign national human rights institution is carrying out a mission as a neutral body for the first time in the liberated territories.
"From the first days of the war [2020 Karabakh war], the chairman of this organization, Suleyman Arslan, had been contacting with me, interested in the situation at the front, and namely he initiated setting up of the Observatory Group on Karabakh in this structure,” she reminded. “The group, along with the board members, is also represented by legal scholars from famous Turkish universities specializing in international humanitarian law and war crimes. Both during and after the war, we participated in online meetings several times and held discussions with the observatory group as the institution of the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan.”
The main goal of the group is to collect factual materials exposing crimes against peace and humanity committed by the political and military leadership of Armenia during the 2020 Karabakh war and to compile a special report on their basis, the ombudsperson further said.
“The members of the group can find answers to their questions from the data provided at the event in the Office of the Ombudsman, as well as in the course of investigations carried out in the liberated Aghdam city and in the Tartar district,” Aliyeva informed. “As part of the visit, an event was held for the members of the group in the office, where the staff of the Ombudsman's Office took part,” “During the meeting, detailed information was provided on the powers of the Ombudsman of Azerbaijan and her activities during the war.”
“This helped the members of the working group to better understand the situation before visiting the liberated territories, and also, taking into account some technical aspects, to focus on more important elements in order to effectively use the limited time of the visit. The aim was, of course, for the team members to conduct a fully objective investigation without any outside influence,” she also added.
“The report will be sent to all relevant international organizations, including the UN, the Council of Europe and the European Union. It should be noted that the Turkish Organization for Human Rights and Equality, like the Azerbaijan Ombudsman Institute, is a member of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions as an independent national human rights institution,” she noted. “Such institutions, as independent bodies, may submit their reports to the relevant UN human rights mechanisms, including international alliances and organizations of which they are members.”
“The report is drawn up on the basis of independent and objective principles. This suggests that the relevant international organizations should accept this report and respond accordingly,” she stressed. “Our task is to draw the attention of the international community to the crimes committed by the political and military leadership of Armenia during the conflict, war and post-war period, violations of international humanitarian law and the principles of international law.”
“We hope that the international community will react to this and previous reports and take appropriate steps to prevent the repetition of such crimes in the future,” concluded Aliyeva.