ArmInfo. The Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson) of Azerbaijan has international status B, which implies inadequate compliance with the Paris Principles and lack of independence. President of the International and Comparative Law Center Siranush Sahakyan, who represents Armenian prisoners' interests at the European Court of Human Rights stated during a press conference.
"Thus, they cannot give objective assessments, especially in relation to Armenians, who are subject to systemic discrimination and hatred among the Azerbaijani public," she emphasized.
From time to time, reports appear about the visit of the Azerbaijani Ombudsperson to detainees. But there is no hope for reliable information about the condition of the detainees, since the entire human rights system of Azerbaijan depends on the state. The human rights activist also drew attention to the fact that, without any justification, obstacles are being created for the meeting of political and military leaders of Artsakh with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Sahakyan noted that the defense of Armenian prisoners of war always involved lawyers from the Office of the Azerbaijani Commissioner for Human Rights, who acted contrary to professional ethics and principles of justice, and did not provide real protection. In this regard, she relayed conversations with Armenian prisoners of war, who reported that human rights activists did not visit them, moreover, as a rule, our servicemen met with their lawyers only in the courtroom. "There was no coordinated defense, and their involvement was formal," she emphasized.
The human rights activist noted in this regard that the legal system of Azerbaijan has a number of challenges, in particular, according to her, difficulties arise for lawyers when defending political opponents. Those lawyers who carried out professional activities were deprived of their licenses, that is, the Azerbaijani state very effectively resolves issues with objectionable lawyers.
Considering the abovementioned, Sahakyan noted that she does not have any positive expectations in matters of protecting Armenian citizens in the courts of Azerbaijan, but not because of the provision of unprofessional services, but because there is no independent judicial system in Azerbaijan in general. At the same time, she pointed out some progress in the selection of lawyers. If previously all Armenian prisoners of war were provided with the services of a lawyer free of charge by the state, then in the case of officials, they are allowed to choose their own defense among all, including private lawyers, licensed in the Azerbaijani state.
Azerbaijan officially confirmed the fact of the detention of former Minister of State of Artsakh Ruben Vardanyan, former deputy commander of the Armed Forces of Artsakh, General David Manukyan, former commander of the Artsakh Autonomous Region, General Levon Mnatsakanyan, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh David Babayan, former President of the Republic of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan (2007 - 2020), former President of the Republic of Artsakh Arkady Ghukasyan (1997-2007), Speaker of the National Assembly of Artsakh David Ishkhanyan, former President of the Republic of Artsakh (2020- 2023), former Minister of State (2007-2018) Arayik Harutyunyan. All of them were arrested for a period of 4 months.
The exact number of Armenian prisoners of war held in Baku after the 44-day large-scale military aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh is still not known. The AR authorities confirm that there are about three dozen Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijan. According to Human rights activists their number is several hundreds. Many of them were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment by pocket courts of Azerbaijan on far-fetched charges. It is known that Armenian prisoners of war are subjected to harsh treatment in captivity, and all this happens against the backdrop of silence and inaction of the international community.