The preliminary court hearings of two Armenian nationals accused of torturing Azerbaijanis held captive during the first war in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in the 1990s kicked off Wednesday in Baku.
More than 45 representatives of the Azerbaijani and foreign media, non-governmental organizations, members of international community, and the Azerbaijani Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) attended the hearings of Ludwig Mkrtichyan and Alyosha Khosrovyan. In addition, the Azerbaijani nationals tortured by them also participated at the hearings.
The Azerbaijani forces captured Ludwig Mkrtichyan and Alyosha Khosrovyan during the last year’s 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The two are charged with torture, violation of war laws and customs, creation of armed formations or groups not provided by law, illegal crossing of the state border of the Republic of Azerbaijan and other crimes.
An investigation found that Ludwig Mkrtichyan, aged 52, was a member of an armed group who arrived from Armenia and lived illegally in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region. He reportedly beat and tortured 11 captured Azerbaijani citizens at various times, and also shot a serviceman of one of the military units of the Ministry of Defense with a machine gun. He also tortured an Azerbaijani citizen, who was taken hostage on July 12, 1991, and unlawfully detained for about 17 days near the Khojaly district. Mkrtichyan also served as an interpreter during the interrogation of an Azerbaijani civilian caught on September 13, 1999, in Azerbaijan’s Goranboy district.
Azerbaijani forces detained Mkrtichyan on October 20, 2020, in the liberated Fuzuli district. He has admitted to torturing Azerbaijani nationals in the First Karabakh War during the 1991-1994 period.
The other Armenian militant, Alyosha Khosrovyan, was said to have tortured five Azerbaijanis in captivity. He subjected them to cruel and inhumane treatment and violated the law of war. Khosrovyan tortured Azerbaijani soldiers, who were captured in 1993-1994 and detained in Shusha prison, by beating them and causing them to suffer mentally. In addition, he has exploited the labor of an Azerbaijani serviceman for the construction of an Armenian separatist criminal’s house in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Khosrovyan was detained by the Azerbaijani forces on October 3, 2020, when he was trying to carry out intelligence activities in the territory of Azerbaijan.
Zahid Hasanov, one of the Azerbaijani citizens, held hostage by Armenians, said Mkrtichyan and Khosrovyan tortured Azerbaijani prisoners and committed other grave crimes.
“While in captivity, we were severely tortured by both Ludwig Mkrtichyan and Alyosha Khosrovyan. They mocked and beat not only me but all Azerbaijani prisoners. When I was in the hospital, Alyosha came there and beat us, the wounded and the sick,” Hasanov told journalists.
Habib Kazimov was the other Azerbaijani who suffered at the hands of the Armenian militants. According to Kazimov, who was held hostage by Armenians for 21 months, Mkrtichyan and Khosrovyan tortured the detained Azerbaijani nationals and insulted them in Azerbaijani.
“There were up to 40 Azerbaijanis in the cell. Those who could not tolerate torture committed suicide,” Kazimov said. “Ludwig Mkrtichyan and Alyosha Khosrovyan, who tortured Azerbaijanis, claim that they do not know the Azerbaijani language, but in those years, they spoke it and insulted the prisoners in Azerbaijani, too.”
After the hearings on June 2, the court judges scheduled the next hearings for June 9.