Armenia is expanding its policy of genocide, terror, ethnic cleansing and violating international norms of humanitarian law committed against prisoners and hostages, Secretary of the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons Shahin Sailov said in an interview with Trend on March 11.
"The State Commission is operating in accordance with the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of war victims, in accordance with international legal norms in the field of human rights and freedom, the Azerbaijani Constitution, laws and other legal acts adopted in the country in the sphere of the international humanitarian law," he said.
"However, Armenia ignores these international documents and expands its policy of genocide, terror, ethnic cleansing and violation of international norms of humanitarian law," he said.
"A State Commission working group has collected many facts on the taking of civilians as hostages and committing inhumane torture against them and violation of their dignity, blackmail and threats," he said. "These facts show that the policy of genocide was carried out against people held in captivity. Hundreds of compatriots were killed, suffering unbearable torment and torture. They became maimed. As a result of the recent investigations, it was found that 554 compatriots were killed or died in captivity for various reasons."
While speaking about the State Commission's activity, he stressed that its structure and a working group were established in 1993.
"During this period, the State Commission's staff changed twice fully and several times partially," he said. "The approach to the problem of prisoners, hostages and missing persons was significantly changed. The activity of the State Commission was strengthened and its specific parameters were determined after the staff was fully replaced for the third time in 2004 upon Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's decree, care and attention."
"A new period has begun in the State Commission's activity and radical changes have been made since 2004," he said. "The priority issues, solving personnel problems and creation of the material and technical base are the key areas."
"The main task is to make a list of the State Commission on Missing Persons and to eliminate the differences with a similar list of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during this period," he said. "This accurate definition along with the list is also important to determine the extent of the humanitarian problem.
"This also played an important role in the implementation of tasks arising from a framework agreement concluded between the ICRC and the State Commission in April 2008. This was the framework agreement on 'Gathering Ante Mortem information and centralised database management of those missing in connection with the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict'."