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EU human rights court gives Azerbaijan reporting deadline

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EU human rights court gives Azerbaijan reporting deadline

EU Court of Human Rights gives Azerbaijan reporting deadline | Photo: AFP

The EU Court of Human Rights has given Azerbaijan until August 8 to provide information about Vagif Khachatryan, a Nagorno-Karabakh resident kidnapped by Azerbaijani border guards while being evacuated by the Red Cross to Armenia for medical treatment.

Khachatryan was detained on July 29 at the Lachin crossing point of the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. Azerbaijan’s prosecutor’s office justified the move owing to Khachatryan’s role in massacres and forced deportations during the first Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1991 — crimes they argue amounted to genocide. Representatives of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic responded by claiming that arresting someone under Red Cross protection “is a war crime.”

The leaders of both countries met on June 1, where discussions focused on unblocking transport links, border delimitation, the rights of ethnic-Armenian’s in Nagorno-Karabakh, and prisoners of war. On May 25, the Armenian Prime Minister said that Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to recognise their territorial borders.

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However, the kidnapping threatens to wipe out the rapprochement in relations made in recent months, and plunge the region back into internecine conflict. Further, the humanitarian crisis caused by Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor has intensified calls for sanctions against Baku across the EU. Should Khachatryan’s whereabouts continue to remain unknown, Armenia will likely leverage his disappearance to call for increased sanctions against Azerbaijan.

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