Safarov Case Illustrates Lingering Impact of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
PARIS, September 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
The on-going conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of
Nagorno-Karabakh triggered a heated debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe Committee meetings in Paris this week.
Hungary’s extradition of Ramil Safarov to Azerbaijan and his subsequent release drew
the attention again to the lingering impact of the non-settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict since the cease-fire in 1993. Safarov was convicted of murdering an Armenian
soldier during a NATO training course in Budapest in 2004, claiming that he spat on the
Azerbaijani flag and humiliated him.
“It is obvious that the debate over the Ramil Safarov case currently launched by
Armenia in the international area has the only goal to consolidate the illegal Armenian
presence in the occupied territories and to reject the demand of all international
organizations (UN, PACE, EP, OSCE, etc.) to withdraw their armed forces unconditionally
from these territories,” said Azerbaijani MP, Elkhan Suleymanov.
He further pointed out that Safarov was transferred by Hungary to Azerbaijan in
conformity with the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, to which both states
are signatories. After serving eight years in jail, Safarov was released in line with the
Article 12 of this Convention, which allows any member states to grant a pardon according
to their national legislation.
Nagorno-Karabakh has been a matter of tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan for the
last 20 years, causing around 30.000 deaths so far. Peace talks by the OSCE’s Minsk Group,
led by the US, Russia and France, have achieved little progress in finding a peaceful
In addition, United Nations Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884, calling for the
immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian forces, have not been implemented, and
border incidents on the cease-fire line between Azerbaijan and Armenia have intensified
during the last few months.
“These incidents are extremely unfortunate,” said Suleymanov. “Thousands of
Azerbaijanis were killed since the illegal Armenian occupation of Nagorno Karabakh and no
single Armenian – be it militia or civilian – was ever convicted for committing serious
crimes against humanity so far.”
Meanwhile, Armenian MP Davit Harutyunyan said: “We are only occupying 15% of
Azerbaijani territory,” adding that “the current number of IDPs (Internally Displaced
Persons) in Azerbaijan amounts to a maximum of 700,000 and not 1,000.000.”
Thanking Harutyunyan for his “honest confession” Suleymanov stressed his
“disappointment as all my colleagues kept silent confronted by this sad reality.
“If Armenia insists on non-implementation of international resolutions on
Nagorno-Karabakh, public sentiment will become even more bitter,” Suleymanov said.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor