Statement of the Foreign Ministry's Press Service Department
Statement by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia on February 7, 2022 claiming that Armenia has no obligation to provide the Azerbaijani side with information about the whereabouts of the Azerbaijani citizens who went missing in the first Armenia-Azerbaijan war and the mass graves in which they were buried, in exchange for the return of 8 servicemen of Armenian origin, is the most extreme example of disrespect for the rule of law and the principle of humanism.
We remind the Armenian Foreign Ministry that in accordance with its obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its relevant protocols and international humanitarian law as a whole, the Armenian side is obliged to provide the Azerbaijani side with information on the civilian and military Azerbaijani citizens systematically killed by the armed forces of Armenia, and about the location of their mass graves.
We would like to emphasize once again that one of the main issues on the agenda of the meeting held on February 4 of this year in a video format at the initiative of the President of the French Republic with the participation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, French President Emmanuel Macron as the chair of the Council of the EU, President of the EU Council Charles Michel and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, were precisely humanitarian issues. In this regard, the President of Azerbaijan brought to attention the importance of informing about the fate of a total of 3,890 Azerbaijani citizens, including 71 children, 267 women and 326 elderly people, during the first Armenia-Azerbaijan war, and clarifying the issue by Armenia regarding the location of mass graves where they were buried, and this issue was supported by the Presidents of France and the Council of the European Union. The Armenian side, which is responsible for clarifying the fate of about 4,000 missing Azerbaijani citizens, has promised to cooperate in this matter.
The continuation of the policy of denial by Armenia against the background of the discovery and transfer to the opposite side the bodies of 1708 Armenian servicemen by the Azerbaijani side as a result of the recent war, the denial by Armenia of its obligations assumed on the basis of international humanitarian law, as well as during the meeting held on February 4, 2022 in a video format, completely goes beyond the moral, ethical and international legal framework.
In the context of this state’s “care” for its citizens, it is especially surprising that after the completion of the relevant legal procedures by the Republic of Azerbaijan, which is committed to the principle of humanism, on the transfer of the ldetained Armenian military personnel to their country, these people are again subjected to mass arrests and persecution by the Armenian state.
We call on the international community to put pressure on the Armenian side to take responsibility for clarifying the fate of the missing Azerbaijani citizens, the bloody legacy of the first Armenia-Azerbaijan war, and to demand that it fulfills its obligations.
It should be noted that the International Committee of the Red Cross has created a DNA database of more than 3,000 people based on DNA samples taken from family members of missing persons.
Based on the information provided by Armenia, the fate of missing Azerbaijani citizens, about whom no information has been provided for about 30 years, can be clarified as a result of the remains to be removed from mass graves.