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Is Armenia seeking to extradite Azerbaijani war criminals?

February 22 2024, 13:20

On February 21, Russian media reported that Azerbaijani national Kamil Zeynalli was detained at Moscow Domodedovo Airport. Subsequently, the Armenian media reported that Kamil is suspected of participating in the execution of an elderly Armenian civilian in Artsakh during the 2020 war, and that he was detained in Moscow at the request of the Armenian Prosecutor General’s Office.

The lawyer of the detainee, Alekber Garayev, provided details of the charges on which Armenia declared Zeynalli internationally wanted. According to Azerbaijani media, Garayev stated that Zeynalli was charged under the following articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia: 135 (crimes against humanity), 140 (war crimes committed through prohibited methods of warfare), 147 (mercenaryism), and 149 (aggression). The lawyer also said that Zeynalli’s trial will take place on February 22. We would like to note again that Armenian media and Azerbaijani sources provided similar comments about Zeynalli’s arrest, specifically on episodes related to the 44-day war.

It should also be noted that immediately after Zeynalli’s detention, state-affiliated telegram channels began to actively spread information that “Russia will most likely immediately release the Azerbaijani,” from which it can be logically concluded that official Yerevan itself could abandon the idea of extraditing the suspected Azerbaijani war criminal to Armenia. However, in the media space, the responsibility for this would be assigned to Russia.

We can draw a similar conclusion based on experience: Armenia has repeatedly submitted the minefield maps of Artsakh to official Baku without preconditions, calling it a “humanitarian gesture”, even though dozens of Armenians are still held captive by Azerbaijan. Earlier, Armenia handed over to Azerbaijan a serviceman who got lost near the border of the two countries-again without preconditions. It is in the context of these events that we may have reasonable doubts that the Armenian authorities could not just abandon the idea of extraditing the Azerbaijani but also use this occasion to start the next round of anti-Russian hysteria.

It is also noteworthy that, in the context of this situation, the Armenian state bodies provided contrary information, once again showing their public incompetence. Thus, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Armenia noted that “it has no official information on the incident,” while the police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Armenia confirmed that Armenia issued an interstate warrant for Azerbaijani national Kamil Zeynalli, detained in Moscow.

It is not surprising that, amid confusion in the Armenian state bodies, total political silence on the part of the Armenian Foreign Ministry and the government, and official Baku’s active work towards the release of the suspected Azerbaijani criminal, Zeynalli is eventually released. However, it is clear that the incident itself did not happen “just like that.” So what could be behind this?

It is obvious that in this situation there is another detail that fades next to the spiral of anti-Russian hysteria. Considering the signals coming from Moscow, Russia intends to extend the stay of its peacekeepers in Artsakh, and perhaps this incident will make official Baku much more flexible in this matter…

Think about it.