Lemkin Institute expresses concern over continued imprisonment of Artsakh officials and civilians by Azerbaijan

March 27 2024, 17:20


The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention released a statement strongly condemning the continued and unlawful imprisonment of Armenian officials and civilians of the Republic of Artsakh by Azerbaijan.

The Lemkin Institute called on the international community to take necessary steps to secure the prompt and safe repatriation of all Armenian POWs, officials, and civilians held hostage in Azerbaijan and emphasized the need for a strong international presence, given the high risk of serious violations of human rights against the detained individuals, including the loss of life.

“The Lemkin Institute recalls its 27 October 2023 ‘Statement on the Ongoing Imprisonment of Armenian Officials of the Republic of Artsakh by the Republic of Azerbaijan,’ detailing the detention and prosecution of eight high-ranking officials, namely: Mr. Ruben Vardanyan, former State Minister of Artsakh; Major General Davit Manukyan, former First Deputy Commander of the Artsakh Defense Army; Mr. Davit Babayan, former Adviser to the President and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh; Mr. Levon Mnatsakanyan, former Commander of the Artsakh Defense Army; Mr. Arkadi Ghukasyan, the second President of Artsakh; Mr. Bako Sahakyan, the third President of Artsakh; Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan, the fourth President and former State Minister of Artsakh; and Mr. Davit Ishkhanyan, the last President of the National Assembly of Artsakh.

These arrests occurred after Azerbaijan’s military aggression against the Nagorno-Karabakh region on 19 September 2023, and during the ensuing genocide against its civilian population.

Azerbaijan has consistently demonstrated its complete disregard for a law-based international order, including its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. With the threat of an all-out war in the South Caucasus, the need for a robust international presence in the region has never been more urgent.

In conclusion, the Lemkin Institute once again calls the international community to persuade President Aliyev’s regime into promptly releasing all Armenian civilians and POWs under its jurisdiction. Additionally, it exhorts the international community to refrain from providing any kind of assistance that could worsen the suffering of the victims of the Artsakh genocide or embolden Azerbaijan to perpetrate any unlawful act of aggression against Armenian territory. In this context, the Lemkin Institute welcomes the European Parliament’s February reports on ‘Common Foreign and Security Policy’ and ‘Common Security and Defense Policy,’ which, among other things, condemn the pre-planned and unjustified attack by Azerbaijan against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the people who have remained in the region,” the Lemkin Institute said in a statement.