Karvachar Operation: Azeri saboteurs ‘neutralized’, face criminal prosecution

Karvachar Operation: Azeri saboteurs ‘neutralized’, face criminal prosecution

Military authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday stated about a successful completion of an operation on ‘neutralizing’ the Azeri saboteurs that had infiltrated into the territory of the republic’s Karvachar district last week.

According to the NKR Defense Ministry, all members of the group had either been taken prisoner or destroyed by the Armenian forces.

The Azeri reconnaissance-sabotage group attempted to penetrate into the Armenian-controlled territory last Wednesday, but its movement was spotted by frontline Karabakh units that managed to thwart the raid. Some of the group members were captured, others fled, according to the report.

The information about the raid was denied by Azerbaijan, in response to which the NKR Defense Ministry found it necessary to publish the photographs of the weapons and ammunition confiscated from one of the captives and then also the photograph of the captive himself, 46-year-old Shahbaz Guliyev.

After the publication of the photograph Zara Amatuni, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Armenia office, said the Azerbaijani authorities had turned to the ICRC’s delegation to Baku, asking it to report information about the citizen of Azerbaijan. According to Amatuni, they are still waiting for the official confirmation of the location of the Azerbaijani captive and then they will visit him.

While in Armenia discussions were on as to whether the captive is a real commando, considering that he is middle-aged, slightly overweight and of average height, one of the members of the group that managed to penetrate into Karvachar attacked a car, killing 42-year-old officer Sargis Abrahamyan and wounding the wife of another serviceman, 37-year-old Karine Davtyan. The attacker was later killed by Armenian forces.

On Monday, after the completion of the operation on neutralizing the Azeri commando unit members was reported, the Armenian Defense Ministry issued a statement in which it, in fact, refused to recognize the arrested Azerbaijani citizens as prisoners-of-war. It said that rather they will be prosecuted according to the Armenia penal code.

“There is irrefutable evidence that we deal with a criminal group,” the Ministry said. but would rather be prosecuted in accordance with the Armenian penal code. “The members of the neutralized sabotage group did not have any marks of distinction and had grossly violated the laws and customs of war that are defined by international law, committing cruel and inhuman acts of infringement upon civilians.”

The Armenian military, at the same time, stressed that, if necessary, evidence can be provided to relevant international agencies.
Later a video presumably made by the Azeri saboteurs themselves was disseminated. It showed a group of Azeris in woods presumably in Karvachar making a barbecue. It is clear from their conversations that they had stolen cattle from local Armenian farmers.

The NKR Defense Ministry then disseminated a video showing another arrested member of the group.

The events caused a debate on online social networks. Some of the Armenian Facebook users were skeptical about the announcements of the authorities, saying that the arrested people did not exactly look like commandos. Many also voiced anger over the videos showing the captives and their arrest.

Meanwhile, the search is on in Karvachar for a teenager who went missing more than a week ago and whose disappearance is linked by many to the Azerbaijani infiltration. The parents of 17-year-old Smbat Tsakanyan from the village of Nor Erkej believe their son was kidnapped by Azeri commandos.