EU wants to investigate alleged Nagorno-Karabakh war crimes


EU calls for investigation into possible war crimes following video of people dressed in Azerbaijani uniforms executing Armenian POWs.

Peter Stano, spokesman for the EU’s foreign policy arm, told reporters on Monday (October 3rd) that the video, if found to be genuine, “shows acts of war crimes and a clear violation of the law international”.

But he also said it was up to Azerbaijan to lead the investigation, noting that the EU had no investigative powers.

“It is in the interests of the Azerbaijani authorities to investigate and prove to the world that this is not the country’s policy,” he said.

The foreign ministers of the two parties met in Geneva on Monday, following a mediation meeting in Brussels at the end of August.

Armenia in Geneva called for war crimes to be investigated and perpetrators brought to justice. Azerbaijan said Armenian armed units should withdraw and accused them of placing landmines on Azerbaijani territory.

The latest war crimes allegations could exacerbate already strained relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has fought two wars in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The most recent, in 2020, saw Armenia withdraw from large swathes of territory, leading to the deployment of some 2,000 Russian troops to maintain a fragile ceasefire agreement.

The six weeks of fighting killed around 6,000 people.

Baku and Yerevan continue to argue and compete for territory in the region, with the former establishing infrastructure such as roads.

But fighting erupted again early last month, with at least 207 Armenian and 80 Azerbaijani soldiers killed in what has been described as the deadliest escalation since 2020.

Yerevan accused Baku of taking another 10 km2 of territory, noting that some 2,700 civilians were evacuated from Armenia’s Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces.

The International Crisis Group, an NGO, says the fighting could be Azerbaijan taking advantage of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

War crimes on both sides?

On Sunday, the EU’s envoy to the South Caucasus, Tovio Klaar, also demanded an investigation into the atrocities apparently committed by the Azerbaijanis.

But then he revealed that he had received several videos of possible war crimes committed against Azerbaijanis.

“These also need to be investigated and whether the authentic perpetrators should be held accountable,” he said.

“The conflict has left deep wounds on both sides and to heal accountability is needed,” he added.

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