No:172/21, Head of the Press Service Department of the MFA of Azerbaijan Leyla Abdullayeva answers the question of the media
Question: The allegations on “Prisoners of war” are still raised by Armenia. How would you comment on these allegations?
Answer: We regularly address the false and inflammatory allegations that continue to be raised by Armenia accusing Azerbaijan of detaining Armenian prisoners-of-war.
Let me reiterate that Azerbaijan is committed to upholding the international rule of law, including its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law as applicable to its detention operations and the disposition of detainees. As agreed in the tripartite statement, and consistent with its obligations under international humanitarian law, Azerbaijan has released and repatriated all Armenians in its custody who were entitled to prisoner-of-war status.
Azerbaijan is presently detaining Armenian saboteurs, who were found to be unlawfully in Azerbaijani territory weeks after the signing of the tripartite statement on 10 November 2020, which mandated the cessation of all hostilities. Based on information and evidence gathered by Azerbaijan, after the hostilities ended, a detachment of more than 60 people was dispatched from the Shirak region of Armenia to the territories of Azerbaijan in the last 10 days of November. This detachment launched terroristic attacks on Azerbaijani civilians and military personnel, including in late November and December 2020, killing 4 Azerbaijani servicemen and severely injuring one civilian, an employee of a mobile phone company who was simply doing his job to restore communication lines to a region devastated by years of Armenian occupation.
Azerbaijan is lawfully detaining these individuals as a matter of both international and domestic law while it investigates and as appropriate, prosecutes them for murder, sabotage, or other crimes committed under Azerbaijani law. Consistent with its laws, Azerbaijan is presently conducting a detailed review of all individuals who were detained after the 44-day Patriotic War to assess the evidence against them. On 4 May 2021, as a humanitarian gesture, Azerbaijan repatriated three of the individuals to Armenia without pressing charges.
İn view of Armenia’s repeated mischaracterizations, Azerbaijan is proceeding with its review with a view towards ensuring greater transparency regarding their basis for detention, conditions of confinement, and disposition. Azerbaijan remains committed to upholding its international obligations, including by ensuring that individuals it detains are treated humanely and are subject to just and lawful dispositions.