Karabakh Justice Minister: Humanitarian actions shall be within legal framework

15:39, 28.02.2015

Armenian News-NEWS.am spoke with the Minister of Justice of the
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR; Artsakh), Ararat Danielyan. Below is
an abridged version of the interview.

The judicial process [in the NKR] with respect to the two Azerbaijan
citizens had the expected reaction in the Azerbaijani press, where
they are attempting to misrepresent the situation. How do you
interpret what is happening?

The NKR First Instance General Jurisdiction Court made a ruling
finding [Azerbaijan] citizens Dilham Askerov and Shahbaz Guliyev
guilty of committing particularly grave crimes. [But] as is typical
for all civilized countries, the defendants were given the opportunity
to appeal this judgment; the [respective] litigation is conducted very
transparently. When the judgment enters into force, they can petition
to the President of the country, with a request for pardon.

Do you have [any] information about the citizenship of the defendants?

In my view, citizenship does not matter when carrying out justice.

Can Askerov and Guliyev petition to the European Court [of Human Rights (ECHR)]?

The status of living space does not matter when petitioning to the
ECHR. At the same time, a person's citizenship likewise has no
particular importance for the exercising of his rights. The
Nagorno-Karabakh authorities do not evade liability, and they stand
ready to act as defendant in the ECHR.

Can the abovementioned persons be defined as "captive?"

In no way. The apprehension has not occurred during military
operations; they were not taken captive. In this case it is not about
captives. The members of the [Azerbaijani sabotage] team illegally
crossed the Nagorno-Karabakh border, with a special objective. The
[ensuing] death of the [Armenian] people is to their "conscience." The
confiscated video footage bespeaks the objective of their visit [to
Artsakh]. [But] the Karabakh side stands ready to implement all rights
of the convicts provided by law.

The judgment on Askerov and Guliyev led commentaries, including from
the US Department of State representatives, who called for making a
humanitarian gesture to Azerbaijan [and returning them to their
country]. How would comment on this?

The humanitarian actions likewise need to be within the legal
framework. Guarantees are needed that the convicts will serve their
sentence if they are handed over to Baku. The example of Ramil Safarov
[, however,] is vivid evidence of how the [respective] actions by the
Azerbaijani authorities will be. [To note Ramil Safarov, a
then-lieutenant in the Azerbaijani military, was extradited on August
31, 2012 from Hungary, where he was serving a life sentence--and with
no expression of either regret or remorse--for the premeditated axe
murder of Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, in his sleep, during a
NATO Partnership for Peace program in Budapest on February 19, 2004.
Safarov had planned on killing the other Armenian military serviceman,
who likewise was attending the aforesaid program, but he was unable to
carry out this plan. Ramil Safarov's return to the Azerbaijani capital
city of Baku was welcomed, as was his act of murder, by the officials
of President Ilham Aliyev's government and much of Azerbaijani
society, and the Azerbaijani president immediately granted him a
pardon, he was declared a national hero, promoted to a higher military
rank, and was allocated housing and pension.] All matters shall be
resolved within the legal framework. As for the calls for creating a
climate of trust, it is important to take into account the fact that
the Azerbaijani side wants no confidence-building [measures] at all.
This is the case when the people of Artsakh, unlike the Azerbaijanis,
feel no hatred towards them.


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From: Baghdasarian