May 182017
 

MOSCOW, PARIS, WASHINGTON D.C., 18 May, 2017 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Richard Hoagland of the United States of America, released the following statement today:

According to information collected from multiple reliable sources, on 15 May, Azerbaijani armed forces fired a missile across the Line of Contact, striking military equipment. On the evening of 16 May and continuing into 17 May, Armenian armed forces retaliated with mortar fire of various calibres. These actions by both sides represent significant violations of the ceasefire and are cause for alarm.

There are contradictory reports regarding the targets of these recent strikes, as well as about casualties sustained and damages inflicted. The Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office continue to collect further data and analysis to gain more complete and accurate information about the current situation.

The Co-Chairs condemn these recent ceasefire violations and call upon the sides to take all necessary measures to prevent any further escalation in the conflict zone.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Dec 092016
 

The report released by the Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) of Artsakh Republic highlights the war crimes committed by Azerbaijan during the 4-day war in April, 2016 (torture, execution and mutilation of dead bodies). The findings are based on the results of Ombudsman’s fact-finding mission and the publicly available information.

The conclusions of the report are as follows:

  1. During the 2016 April war, the Azerbaijani AF committed war crimes of torture, execution, and mutilation. The war crimes had a systemic and well-organized nature, as they were committed in all three areas by all the regiments of the Azerbaijani armed forces that established control over the NKR civilians or NKDA servicemen on April 2, 2016.
  2. None of the 3 civilians and, presumably, the 4 combatants hors de combats survived the control of the Azerbaijani armed forces. Their murders seem to be executions merely for being Armenian.
  3. 27 out of the 31 NKR civilians and NKDA servicemen (about 90%), who fell under control of the Azerbaijani armed forces as a result of the Azerbaijani military aggression against NKR, were tortured, executed, or mutilated.
  4. All the NKR civilians under Azerbaijani control were executed and mutilated. One of them, a 92 year old woman, was also tortured.
  5. Three NKDA servicemen were beheaded. Two of them were beheaded postmortem, and one was executed by ISIS-style decapitation.
  6. The most widespread war crime was mutilation (24 cases), including 21 cases of ear cuts-offs. There were 5 cases of torture (including hands cut off, and throats cut). There were 7 cases of execution, mostly by gun-shots.
  7. Under the IHL, Azerbaijan bears State Responsibility for the war crimes of its armed forces, and has an obligation to investigate and properly prosecute the perpetrators and others who bear responsibility. The perpetrators and their commanders are also individually responsible.

File: Second Interim Report on Atrocities committed by Azerbaijan during the 2016 April War
Source: Artsakh Ombudsman (Human Rights Defender) Continue reading »

Dec 082016
 

HAMBURG, Germany, 8 December 2016 – We, the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State of the United States John Kerry, and Foreign Minister of France Jean-Marc Ayrault – remain fully committed to a negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In light of the dramatic escalation in violence along the Line of Contact in April, we express concern over continuing armed incidents, including reports on the use of heavy weapons, and strongly condemn the use of force or the threat of the use of force. There is no military solution to this conflict and no justification for the death and injury of civilians. We are also aware of allegations of atrocities committed on the field of battle in April, which we condemn in the strongest terms. We appeal to the sides to confirm their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict as the only way to bring real reconciliation to the peoples of the region. We also urge them to adhere strictly to the 1994/95 ceasefire agreements that make up the foundation of the cessation of hostilities in the conflict zone.

We call on Baku and Yerevan to honor the agreements reflected in the Joint Statements of the 16 May Summit in Vienna and the 20 June Summit in St. Petersburg. We welcome the sides’ progress in implementing the exchange of data on missing persons under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross. We urge the parties to remove all remaining obstacles to expanding the mission of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and to make progress on a proposal to establish an OSCE investigative mechanism. The proposals should be implemented together with the immediate resumption of negotiations on a settlement. We would like to reiterate our call to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to demonstrate flexibility and to return to the negotiation table with the firm aim of moving toward a sustainable peace on the basis of the current working proposals. Unless progress can be made on negotiations, the prospects for renewed violence will only increase, and the parties will bear full responsibility.

We remind the sides that the settlement must be based on the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act, namely: non-use of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and additional elements as proposed by the Presidents of the Co-Chair countries, including return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control; an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-governance; a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh; future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will; the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence; and international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation. Our countries will continue to work closely with the sides, and we call upon them to make full use of the assistance of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs as mediators.

The Co-Chair countries are prepared to host a meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan when they are ready. We firmly believe that the Presidents need to engage in negotiations in good faith at the earliest opportunity. Continuous and direct dialogue between the Presidents, conducted under the auspices of the Co-Chairs, remains an essential element in building confidence and moving the peace process forward.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Jun 242016
 

VIENNA, 24 June 2016 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) call on the sides to honour the agreements which were reflected in the Joint Statements of the 16 May summit in Vienna and the 20 June summit in St. Petersburg.

We urge Azerbaijan and Armenia to remove all remaining obstacles to expanding the mission of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk. We also urge progress in substantive talks and on a proposal to establish an OSCE investigative mechanism. We will continue our engagement with the sides to advance all of these outcomes from the last two meetings between the Presidents.


Source: SOCE Minsk Group page

Jun 202016
 

At the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation, the Presidents of the Republic of Armenia, Russian Federation and Republic of Azerbaijan met in Saint Petersburg on June 20, 2016 and discussed issues pertaining to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

The Presidents of the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan reiterated agreements reached at the May 16 Armenian-Azerbaijani Summit in Vienna aimed at the stabilization of the situation in the conflict area and creation of an atmosphere conducive for moving the peace process forward. Towards that end, they agreed in particular to increase the number of international observers. They expressed satisfaction with the fact that recently the ceasefire regime at the line of contact has been upheld.

A substantial exchange of opinions took place regarding the pivotal issues related to the settlement. The Heads of State took note of mutual understanding on a number of issues, the resolution of which will allow to create conditions for a progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

The Presidents stressed the importance of their regular meetings and reached an agreement to continue them in the same format, in addition to the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, which were invited to the concluding part of the St. Petersburg meeting.


Original source: Official website of the President of Russia [in Russian]
Armenian source: Official website of the President of Armenia

May 162016
 

VIENNA, 16 May 2016 – The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State of the United States of America John Kerry, and State Secretary for European Affairs of France Harlem Desir, representing the co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, met today with President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to advance a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

They reiterated that there can be no military solution to the conflict. The Co-Chairs insisted on the importance of respecting the 1994 and 1995 ceasefire agreements.

The Presidents reiterated their commitment to the ceasefire and the peaceful settlement of the conflict. To reduce the risk of further violence, they agreed to finalize in the shortest possible time an OSCE investigative mechanism. The Presidents also agreed to the expansion of the existing Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office. Finally, they agreed to continue the exchange of data on missing persons under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to which the Presidents committed during the Paris summit of October 2014.

The Presidents agreed on a next round of talks, to be held in June at a place to be mutually agreed, with an aim to resuming negotiations on a comprehensive settlement.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Apr 052016
 

VIENNA, 5 April 2016 – We, the representatives of the OSCE Minsk Group countries (Russian Federation, the United States of America, France, Belarus, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Turkey), as well as the incoming Austrian OSCE Chair (2017) and the Serbian OSCE Chair (2015), strongly condemn the outbreak of unprecedented violence along the Line of Contact. We extend our condolences to all affected families. We urge the sides to cease using force immediately. There is no military solution to the conflict.

The deterioration of the situation on the ground demonstrates the need for an immediate negotiation, under the auspices of the Co-chairs, on a comprehensive settlement.

The representatives of the Minsk Group member states affirm their support for the Russian, American, and French Co-Chairs’ mediation efforts and welcome their plans to undertake direct consultations with the sides as soon as possible.


Source: OSCE Minsk Group page

Apr 032016
 

April 3, 2016
Stability and peace, and the achievement of peaceful solutions to conflicts between nations are values that go beyond our hemisphere.

Therefore, the use of military action by Azerbaijan is particularly serious because it constitutes a manifest violation of the ceasefire established in 1994 as well as well as a violation of the principle of good faith negotiations in the framework of the Minsk Group.

We condemn the serious violation of the principles of international law.

Moreover, taking civilian objectives as military targets in these attacks is a complete violation of the most basic rules governing armed conflict. These practices must be banished.

Any act of violence to resolve a territorial dispute is inadmissible and when such acts of violence cause civilian deaths they are acts of barbarism.

We urge the Azeri authorities to resume meetings have been postponed with Minsk Group authorities.

The basic principles for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh are based on the Helsinki Final Act (1975), and are:
– The non-use of force,
– Territorial integrity as well as
– Equal rights and
-the self-determination of peoples.

We demand the fullest respect for these principles.


Source: OAS website

Mar 172016
 

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), established by the Council of Europe, is an independent human rights monitoring body specialised in questions relating to racism and intolerance. It is composed of independent and impartial members appointed on the basis of their moral authority and recognised expertise in dealing with racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.

In the framework of its statutory activities, ECRI conducts country monitoring work, which analyses the situation in each of the member States regarding racism and intolerance and draws up suggestions and proposals for dealing with the problems identified.

Here is what the 2016 ERCI report on Azerbaijan says about recurrent hate speech towards Armenians:

25. Other sources confirm recurrent hate speech towards Armenians, which is connected with the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the frequent ceasefire violations at the contact line and the resulting deaths and injuries. The Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ACFC) for example noted “a persistent public narrative surrounding the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh identifying [in]variably Armenia or Armenians as ‘the enemy’ and openly promulgating hate messages”. According to other sources, there is a conflict-ridden domestic political discourse and Azerbaijan’s leadership, education system and media are very prolific in their denigration of Armenians. Political opponents are accused of having Armenian roots or of receiving funds from Armenian sources. An entire generation of Azerbaijanis has now grown up listening to constant rhetoric of Armenian aggression. According to a 2012 survey, 91% perceived Armenia as Azerbaijan’s greatest enemy. As a result, the Armenians living in the country need to hide their ethnic affiliation and there is no organisation of the Armenian minority in the country with which ECRI’s delegation could have met. The human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus, who worked inter alia towards reconciliation with Armenia, have been arrested and sentenced under controversial accusations to heavy prison terms. Both were conditionally released at the end of 2015.

[…]

38. ECRI has not received any official information about violent hate crime based on ethnic affiliation committed in Azerbaijan in the last five years, but, given the ongoing conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, ECRI is concerned that the on-going waves of hate speech create a risk of violence. In this connection ECRI expressed, in a press release of 4 September 2012, its consternation at the pardoning and release of Ramil Safarov, shortly after he had been transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan in order to serve there a sentence of life imprisonment imposed by a Budapest court for the murder of an Armenian army officer in 2004. Moreover, Ramil Safarov was promoted to the rank of major, given a flat and the pay he had lost since his arrest in Hungary. In its press release, ECRI pointed out the risk that such action could cultivate a sense of impunity for the perpetrators of racist crimes of the most serious nature.


File: 2016 ERCI Report on Azerbaijan
Source: Publications, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Feb 012016
 

“Why is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still not Resolved”

KocharyanBy Shavarsh Kocharyan
MIA Publishers, Yerevan 2016

The current phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue has started since the last years of the existence of the USSR and turned into a conflict as a result of the policy of power adopted by Azerbaijan in response to the implementation of the right to self-determination by the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict differs from other conflicts of the former Soviet area by the fact that the people of Nagorno- Karabakh impeccably implemented its right to self-determination within the legal frameworks before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the bloodiest conflict of the post-Soviet area with tens of thousands of victims, hundreds of thousands of refugees and massive destruction. The military phase of the confl ict ended in May 1994 with an open-ended ceasefire agreement. Notably during the past 22 years the large-scale military operations have not been renewed, and the relative peace has been preserved without the involvement
of international peacekeeping forces.
The mediators in the negotiation process of the Nagorno-Karabakh confl ict resolution are the 3 out of the 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, the USA and France. Despite the consistent efforts of the mediators, the Nagorno-Karabakh confl ict remains unresolved. The main reason is that Azerbaijan acts in contrary to the purposes of the United Nations.

The opinions presented below may differ from the opinions of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR).

FILES: