STEPANAKERT–The remains of the a 17-year-old Karvachar resident, Smbat Tsakanian, believed to have been abducted from his home by Azerbaijani commandos earlier this month was found in Nor Erkedj, reported Armlur.am.
Tsakanian’s body was found in what is known as the “Turkish Cemetery” with multiple stab wounds on his body and deep lacerations on his neck.
On July 7, Nor Erkedj village resident Mekhak Tsakanian reported his son missing to local authorities in the Shahumian district saying that his son left their house on July 4 at 9 p.m. and had not returned. The family searched the village for days before reporting the young man missing to authorities.
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic law enforcement authorities had linked Tsakanian’s disappearance with the capture of a group of Azerbaijani commandos, referred to as “saboteurs,” who allegedly infiltrated the Karabakh border and, according to Karabakh officials, were sent to there to commit a slew of crimes.
The Artsakh Defense Ministry last week released photographs of the weapons cache seized from the group, as well as the picture of one of the alleged assailants, 46-year-old Shahbaz Guliyev, who infiltrated the Karabakh border last week. On Tuesday, the Artsakh authorities also released a video of Guliyev’s apprehension by Karabakh special forces.
On Monday, the Artsakh Defense Ministry elaborated that the Azerbaijani commandos ambushed a vehicle in Karvachar killing 42-year-old army major Sarkis Abrahamyan and injuring the wife of another military officer, 37-year-old Karine Davtyan. The attackers, according to the Karabakh Defense Ministry, were killed on Friday.
Nor Erkedj mayor, Ara Hovhannesian, confirmed the discovery of Tsakanian’s remains, but did not release further details.
Karabakh Authorities Open Criminal Case
On Tuesady, the authorities of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic said they have opened criminal proceeding against the Azerbaijani Sabotage group and released the name of a second arrested commando, after confirming Monday that all threats had been “neutralized.”
The Prosecutor’s Office in Stepanakert pn Tuesday identified the second arrested person as 54-year-old citizen of Azerbaijan Dilham Askerov. It said both arrested persons had been armed, reported RFE/RL.
On Monday, the Armenian Defense Ministry said that the members of the sabotage group would be prosecuted as criminals, because they cannot be deemed as prisoners of war, based on international conventions.
“The saboteurs will answer for their actions in accordance with our laws and international norms,” Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian stressed on Tuesday, informing the media about the start of criminal proceedings in connection with the matter, reported RFE/RL.
Ohanian did not mention the charges that may be brought against the Azerbaijani captives, but earlier the Armenian Defense Ministry listed a series of crimes that they are suspected of committing while in Armenian-controlled territory. Among them illegal crossing of the border, murder, attempted murder, attempts to photograph ‘specially protected areas’, and others. It said Article 4 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War could not be applied to the arrested Azerbaijani citizens as there is ‘irrefutable evidence’ that they were members of a ‘criminal group’ recruited by Azerbaijani authorities for the purpose of carrying out sabotage activities.
“The leadership of the enemy army also uses criminal elements that are familiar to the territory in reconnaissance-sabotage activities. They committed crimes according to our legislation,” Minister Ohanian said, stressing that the Armenian side does not want a second war, but also reminding that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh defeated Azerbaijan in the first war that had been “foisted upon them.”
Armenia’s former ombudsperson Larisa Alaverdian also said that the arrested citizens of Azerbaijan could not be given the status of POWs and, therefore, were not subject to repatriation. “They are persons who have committed heavy crimes in the territory of another country,” she said in an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am).