ECHR Rejects Armenia's Request for Azerbaijan to Release Prisoners - AZ Foreign Ministry
The European Court of Human Rights, in Strausburg, France on September 13, 2019. Image: Olrat/Shutterstock
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected Armenia’s request for Azerbaijan to release 11 Armenian prisoners being held in Azerbaijan. Both attempts under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court to secure the release of detainees were denied.
Armenia had made this petition to the ECHR earlier in the year, purporting that 11 Armenian nationals had been detained illegally and their rights were being violated. Armenia asserted they were prisoners of war, and therefore must be released.
Azerbaijan, however, maintains that the individuals were arrested following the ceasefire, and the service members had refused to leave the conflict zone and were actively planning terrorist activities on Azerbaijan’s territory. It is not immediately clear if the 11 prisoners named in the application include six Armenian service members arrested on May 27 near the Azerbaijan-Armenia border, who Azerbaijan said were “planting mines” on a service road for border guards. Armenia claimed they were carrying out “engineering work” and called the arrest an “abduction.”
Today, although the ECHR has not yet made a public announcement, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry has reported the decision. Armenia remained silent on the issue.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry stated that it welcomes the decision made by the ECHR and is complying with requests concerning the well-being of the detainees.
In a press commentary, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Leyla Abdullayeva, stated that Azerbaijan is “facilitating visits of the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson) for detainees and [has] provided medical documents on the health conditions of all Armenian detainees, including the six servicemen captured by the Azerbaijani military on May 27.”
Armenia has confirmed it has received the medical documents.
Both Azerbaijan and Armenia were admitted to the council of Europe in 2001. They have both accepted the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights when it comes to European Convention of Human Rights issues. The Council of Europe has 47 member states, including non-European Union members such as Russia and Turkey. Citizens and Governments may bring cases to the ECHR against other governments or their own.