Armenian Ombudsman calls for CoE Commissioner’s mediation in the return of pilots of the downed helicopter

Armenian Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan has sent a letter to Nils Muižnieks, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.

“I’m deeply concerned and worried about the fate of the three-member crew of the downed Armenian MI-24 helicopter. This unarmed helicopter was downed by the Azerbaijani armed forces during a training flight on November 12,” the human Rights Defender said.

“Eight days after the incident the Azerbaijani side blocks access to the helicopter and prevents the recovery of the bodies of the pilots despite the calls of the Permanent Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Furthermore, the Azerbaijani side does not allow the OSCE representatives to conduct monitoring at the crash site,” Karen Andreasyan noted.

“Keeping the crew of the downed helicopter under fire for days not only contradicts the norms of international humanitarian law, particularly the provisions of the Geneva Convention, but also violates the very principles of elementary morality and conscience. It could be possible to save the life of at least one of the pilots, had Azerbaijan allowed to provide timely first aid to the crew,” the Armenian Ombudsman wrote.

He urged the CoE Commissioner for Human Rights to contribute to the return of the remains of the pilots to the Armenian side and the conduct of a comprehensive, unbiased and transparent investigation.

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