Involvement of mercenaries in the war against Artsakh being examined by European Court, lawyer says

One of the arguments of the complaint submitted by the Armenian side to the European Court of Human Rights against Turkey and Azerbaijan refers to the involvement of mercenary terrorists in the 2020 aggression against Artsakh, lawyer Artak Zeynalyan says.

“A general complaint has been submitted against Turkey and Azerbaijan on the ground of violation of the rights of citizens of the Republic of Armenia. One of the arguments relates to the recruitment and enslavement of Syrian mercenaries. Taking advantage of the fact that they are unable to make their living, they have been dragged into war. This is one of the arguments,” Zeynalyan said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia.

According to him, the process is time consuming and it could take years for the Court to make a decision in the case.

“The proceedings will end with a judgement of the European Court. It will take years, the complaint will be sent to the respondent, then it will be sent to the plaintiff, then the plaintiff will present its observations. Azerbaijan, in turn, will each time ask for an extension of the deadline to respond,” Zeynalyan said.

What will the decision of the European High Court give us? And what if Turkey and Azerbaijan refuse to comply with the judgement?

“The ECtHR judgement recognizes the fact of violation of the right and provides just compensation, according to which the respondent state must pay the established amount to the victim of the violation within three months,” Artak Zeynalyan told Public Radio’s Maria Papyan.

However, he added, the true value of the judgement is that it says “the situation that existed before the violation of the right must be restored.”

“If the right to life or the right to protection from torture and ill-treatment have been violated, the respondent state must conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that the balance is restored. The state should identify the culprits and hold them accountable. They should serve their sentence in full, and violation of any detail in this period leads to a repeated violation of the same violated right,” the lawyer said.

Zeynalyan noted that should Turkey and Azerbaijan refuse to comply with the judgement, “there are tools the Armenian side will use to restore the violated rights.”

While Azerbaijan and Turkey keep denying the fact of involvement of Syrian mercenaries in the war, there is plenty of evidence proving the opposite. Intelligence data and videos come to reinforce the facts.

On Sunday Journalist Lindsey Snell shared footage showing mercenaries recruited to fight against Artsakh complaining of Turkish-backed Suleiman Shah commander Abu Amsha, who, they say, stole their salaries.

Four Syrians told the BBC in December 202 that after enlisting for sentry duties in Azerbaijan, they were unexpectedly thrown into battle on the front line.

“Syrian mercenaries are used as ‘cannon fodder’ in Nagorno-Karabakh,” the BBC then wrote.

While the exact number of mercenaries killed in the war against Artsakh is not known, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the toll at about 540.

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