Abusing POWs is a war crime: HRW urges Azerbaijan to investigate all cases

Azerbaijan should investigate all possible abuses to Armenian prisoners of war and hold those responsible to account, says Giorgi Gogia, Associate director for Europe and Central Asia Division, Human Rights Watch.

“Following Nov 16 fighting, worst since the end of 2nd Karabakh war last year, Azerbaijan captured at least 13 Armenian soldiers. Scores of videos on social media show Azerbaijani forces subjecting POWs to cruel & degrading treatment in custody. Abusing POWs is a war crime,” Mr. Gogia said in a Twitter post.

“Particularly, as some of the soldiers perpetrate the abuse with pride and don’t even hide their faces. Azerbaijan is also bound by absolute prohibition on torture & other degrading treatment,” he added.

“Abhorrent videos, which the HRW hasn’t independently verified yet, show beating & kicking & stomping of Armenia POWs, as well as insults against their dignity. Geneva conventions protect POWs “particularly against acts of violence or intimidation & against insult & public curiosity,” Giorgi Gogia said.

He reminded that under III Geneva Convention, captured combatants should be afforded POW status and returned after hostilities end.

The Human Rights Watch documented a pattern of abuse of Armenian POWs in Azerbaijan custody last year.

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