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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Prisoners of War in the Aftermath of the Most Recent Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan

18.5.2021 - (2021/2693(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Pernando Barrena Arza
on behalf of The Left Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0277/2021

Menetlus : 2021/2693(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Prisoners of War in the Aftermath of the Most Recent Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan


The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,

- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

- having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950,

- having regard to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984,

- having regard to the Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 1949,

- having regard to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949,

- having regard to the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, particularly her statement on Nagorno-Karabakh during the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council,

- having regard to the joint statement of UN experts on Nagorno-Karabakh of 1 February 2021,

- having regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire Agreement of 9 November 2020,

- having regard to the EU-Azerbaijan Partnership and Cooperation of 1996 and to the Council’s adoption of the mandate to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan in 2016,

- having regard to the joint Partnership Priorities of the EU and Azerbaijan endorsed in 2018,

- having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas in September 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan started an armed conflict concerning Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as the Artsakh Republic; whereas in 9 November 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan committed themselves to ending hostilities through the Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire Agreement negotiated with Russia;

B. whereas the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Republic conflict and its aftermath resulted in both military and civilian captives from both sides; whereas the Ceasefire Agreement provided for “an exchange of prisoners of war (POW), hostages and other detained persons and bodies of the dead”; whereas, despite the return of several prisoners and captives, according to Armenian state agencies, between 188 and 249 Armenian prisoners remain under Azerbaijani captivity;

C. whereas military and civilians detained before and after the ceasefire enjoy different status under international law; whereas, on the one hand, military taken in captivity before and after the ceasefire should be recognised as POW and benefit from the protection of the Geneva Conventions; whereas, on the other hand, civilians detained during the conflict must be recognised as protected persons and are also protected under the Geneva Conventions; whereas civilians detained after the ceasefire are instead protected under International Human Rights Law;

D. whereas there is substantial evidence to support the allegations that Azerbaijani servicemen have abused Armenian POW and other captives, subjecting them to extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment; whereas the government of Azerbaijan states that military detained after the ceasefire will undergo trial in Azerbaijan as terrorists, undermining their status of POW;

E. whereas, although to a lesser degree, there is prima facie evidence of extrajudicial executions, torture and inhuman treatment of Azerbaijani POW and captives by Armenian forces too; whereas, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, around 30 mercenaries from allegedly “international terrorist groups” are accused of having participated in the conflict and are wanted by the Armenian justice system; whereas two Syrian mercenaries were sentenced to life imprisonment for “terrorism” after participating in the armed conflict on the Azerbaijani side;

F. whereas both Azerbaijan and Armenia are bound by International Humanitarian Law; whereas the Third Geneva Convention protects POW from all forms of torture and cruel treatment; whereas such acts perpetrated during an armed conflict amount to war crimes; whereas the Fourth Geneva Convention protects civilians in international armed conflicts, and establishes that the unlawful confinement of a protected person, their wilful killing and their inhuman and degrading treatment constitute war crimes;

G. whereas, also as state parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), Armenia and Azerbaijan are bound to respect the human right to life and prohibitions on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment;

H. whereas the South Caucasus is strategically placed in the global energy market, including the pipelines connecting Azerbaijan with Turkey which are crucial for the European Union’s oil and natural gas supply;

1. Deeply regrets that the political conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh/ Artsakh Republic escalated into an armed conflict; welcomes the tripartite Ceasefire Agreement of November 2020;

2. Strongly condemns the cases of extrajudicial executions, unlawful captivity, torture and ill-treatment of POWs and other captives during and in the aftermath of the armed conflict; calls on the Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities to refrain from any extrajudicial executions, violence, harassment, torture and ill-treatment of POW and other captives, and to ensure that their human rights are protected and respected; calls on the Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities to respect the status of POW of military detained during and after the armed conflict, and not to try them for “terrorism”;

3. Urges both the Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities to provide a list of persons in captivity in their countries in connection with the armed conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Republic and its aftermath; calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to provide information about the whereabouts and state of health of the captives; highlights that failing to forward this information and the refusal to return the remains of the deceased may amount to enforced disappearance, which both Azerbaijan and Armenia have committed to preventing;

4. Welcomes the fact that Azerbaijan and Armenia have commenced the return of POWs and other captives; urges both parties to immediately release and repatriate all remaining POWs and detained persons in accordance with the provisions of International Humanitarian Law;

5. Demands the government of Azerbaijan to ensure judicial control over detentions, to allow prisoners to access independent lawyers, doctors and human rights defenders, and to facilitate communication with their relatives;

6. Welcomes the criminal proceedings launched by Azerbaijan into the activities of four members of the Azerbaijan armed forces; calls on the Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities to establish an independent mission to conduct prompt, effective, public and impartial investigations into the allegations of serious human rights and Humanitarian Law violations committed during the conflict and its aftermath, including torture and ill-treatment of POWs and civilians; calls on the Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities to ensure that perpetrators are held to account, and to redress victims;

7. Calls on the Azerbaijani government and its leadership to refrain from hostile and hate rhetoric; calls on the government of Azerbaijan to close the so-called “Trophy-park” of Baku, which humiliates the memory of Armenian victims of the war;

8. Deplores the fact that the Azerbaijani government has failed to comply with the interim measures of the European Court of Human Rights, which ordered Azerbaijan to provide information on the situation of the detainees, their state of health, as well as measures taken to return them; urges the government of Azerbaijan to cooperate with international organisations, including the UN, the ICRC and the European Court of Human Rights; calls Azerbaijan to lift restrictions on access to Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Republic, notably for international humanitarian organisations providing humanitarian assistance and cultural heritage protection;

9. Calls on both parties to reengage in the process of the OSCE Minsk Group, based on the Helsinki Final Act principles of non-use of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples; urges both parties to, inter alia, cooperate to conduct the effective demining of conflict regions, and to recognise and respect the right to self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Republic;

10. Calls on Turkey recognise the Armenian Genocide of 1915 by the Ottoman Empire, as most of the Member States of the EU have already done; calls on the Member States who have not done so yet, to swiftly recognise the Armenian Genocide of 1915;

11. Calls on UN experts to continue engaging with Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities and to closely monitor the situation, particularly the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions;

12. Calls on the EU and the Member States to support Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Republic in the process of finding a political solution to the conflict, and in making progress towards sustainable justice and peace, including the respect and recognition of the democratic will of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Republic;

13. Calls on the Council to ensure that International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law are embedded within the comprehensive agreement that is currently under negotiation with Azerbaijan;

14. Calls on the EU to include the respect, protection and promotion human rights within the Partnership Priorities of the EU and Azerbaijan, including the effective utilisation of mechanisms of participatory democracy;

15. Calls on the Member States to support the Sub-Committee on Conflicts between Council of Europe Member States in its mandate to explore in detail concrete mechanisms to ensure the protection and renovation of cultural heritage of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh Republic;

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Governments and Parliaments of Member States, and the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Viimane päevakajastamine: 18. mai 2021
Õigusteave - Privaatsuspoliitika