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Brussels bombings and escalations over Karabakh sent strong wake up call to us – Samvel Farmanyan (video)

Political

The Terror attacks in Brussels and recent escalation over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sent a strong and an unequivocal wake up call to all of us, Samvel Farmanyan, a member of the Armenian Delegation to the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, said in a speech on Tuesday.

His full address, delivered at the Assembly’s Spring Session in Strasburg, is presented below.

"People are in danger and their lives are threatened in a most barbaric way refreshing our memories of the past. We should prove that political institutions; parliaments are yet powerful enough to address these increasingly unprecedented challenges we face today. We should prove there is no compromise when it comes to the most fundamental value – the right of a human being to life.

"You know well, colleagues, that Azerbaijani armed forces unleashed a large-scale aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh on the entire line of contact recently and a new term has been coined already – a four-day war. Azerbaijani armed forces used deadly offensive weaponry obtained in the last 20 years in a gross breach of all international norms.

"Use of force by Azerbaijan goes contrary to the key documents of international law, UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act and others. The Azerbaijani attack amounts to an act of Aggression in line with international law. Azerbaijani army targeted civilian infrastructures and peaceful population. 12-year-old Vaghinak Grigoryan was killed and two other children were wounded heavily at the schoolyard bombarded by Azeri forces. And this is not the only act of violence against civilian population. Valera and Razmela Khalapyans, an elderly couple, were shot in their home with their ears being cut off by Azerbaijani military. They also executed a 92-year-old Marousya Khalapyan and tortured 104-year old Hayka grandmother, who by the way is 6 years older than Azerbaijan itself as a country. All the killed and tortured persons were elderly and reasonably infirm.

"Moreover, the servicemen of Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army, Kyaram Sloyan, Hayk Toroyan, Hrant Gharibyan were beheaded by Azerbaijani troops. Yes, beheaded in an ISIS-style way. Numerous photos in the social networks are a real evidence of cruel treatment of Azerbaijani soldiers posing with the head of Kyaram Sloyan as a trophy. Later the head was transferred to local Azerbaijani population demonstrating it as a trophy encouraging hatred and aggression towards Armenians. No action by official Baku has followed to punish the guilty. By doing so, Azerbaijan once more violated numerous international treaties, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, European Convention on Human rights, Geneva Conventions on protection of victims of war and many others. Another episode includes torture of Prisoners of War and mutilation of bodies of 18 dead Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army soldiers, handed over to Nagorno-Karabakh authorities in presence of the representatives of the IRC a week after the hostilities.

"The Azerbaijani forces and armed militants have committed multiple terrorist acts against the Nagorno-Karabakh troops and the civilian population, which are defined as war crimes and crimes against humanity under the international law. Both the Azerbaijani authorities and persons who have committed military crimes must be held accountable for the breaches of the international law and the war crimes.

"I call upon the Parliamentary Assembly to explicitly condemn the brutalities committed by Azerbaijani armed forces and to urge the Government of Azerbaijan to ensure proper investigation of crimes committed against Nagorno-Karabakh civilians and hors de combat. I also call on the international community to take appropriate measures to prevent further grave breaches of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international law in general."

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