US, Armenia Want Answers in Death of Armenian Citizen in Azerbaijan

YEREVAN (Armenpress and RFE/RL) — The US State Department issued a statement on the death of the Armenian citizen Karen A. Petrosyan, who was taken captive and killed in Azerbaijan.

The State Department stressed that United States is deeply concerned about the death of Petrosyan, which, according to a number of sources, was not due to natural causes and took place while he was in Azeri custody.

Among other things, it was stated: “The US offers sincere condolences to Mr. Petrosyan’s family. We call on the Azerbaijani government to conduct a full and transparent investigation of this incident and publish the results.

We remind the Governments of Azerbaijan and Armenia of their obligations under international humanitarian law, especially their obligation to treat humanely all those taken into custody. We call on both Armenia and Azerbaijan to grant the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all detainees and internees held for conflict- related reasons,”

The Azerbaijani side has given no response about returning Petrosyan’s body. The representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are involved as mediators in the negotiations. The mediation mandate of this international structure is acceptable for both Armenia and Azerbaijani authorities. And although the Armenian side is inclined to direct negotiations, the Azerbaijani side has not entered into direct communication for five to six years, avoiding direct negotiations.

The head of the working group of the State Commission for Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons of the Republic of Armenia Armen Kaprielian, referred to the Geneva Convention. “The International Humanitarian Law recognizes the state’s expression of goodwill, and Azerbaijan should have returned Karen Petrosyan’s body without preconditions, but as we are dealing with Azeris, they are always talking in a language of preconditions. We do not exclude the possibility that this time they will again propose a precondition and will talk about exchange,” he said. “Although we demanded that Azerbaijan respond and act without preconditions, experience has shown that this country is incapable of expression of good will.” said

In 2010 during the handover of the body of Armenian shepherd Manvel Saribekyan, killed in Azeri captivity, the Armenian side handed the Azerbaijani resident Eldar Taghirov who had crossed the Armenian border illegally.