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Earlier this month, Yerevan asked the European Court of Human Rights to demand that Baku provide information about all Armenians taken captive during the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as comment on footage which allegedly shows Armenian men beheaded by Azeri forces.
Two elderly Armenian men who were beheaded – reportedly by Azerbaijani soildiers – have been identified, according to an exclusive report by the Guardian. The executions were filmed and have been widely shared on messaging apps.
According to the publication, the two victims were innocent villagers who refused to leave their homes when Azeri forces arrived. Their identity was confirmed to the Guardian by a human rights ombudsman for the Armenian-backed local government and two Armenian human rights lawyers who are preparing a criminal case over the killings.
The paper has quoted a spokesman for the Council of Europe’s Commissioner on Human Rights as saying that “at this stage we can only say that the commissioner has received videos and other material alleging human rights violations.” He added that the commissioner “wants to carry out a mission in order to assess the situation” on her own. “She is planning a mission to the region soon,” he said, as quoted by the Guardian.
AFP 2020 / STRINGER
An Azerbaijani soldier stands guard at a checkpoint on a road entering Fizuli from Hadrut on December 2, 2020, a day after Baku’s army entered the final district given up by Armenia under a peace deal that ended weeks of fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Last week, Armenia said it had submitted lawsuits to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) – they claim Azeri forces used excessive and unnecessary violence against dozens of Armenia soldiers and civilians. Armenia’s ECHR representative, Yeghishe Kirakosyan, said that the lawsuits include videos that could serve as evidence of war crimes, including the beheadings.
On 10 November, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, following six weeks of conflict in the disputed region. Under the agreement, the Armenian-dominated Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) was forced to hand over territory to Azerbaijan. Nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers have been sent to the region as part of the deal, who will stay there for the next five years to maintain the ceasefire.