Hu­man rights ac­tivist links Ar­me­nia’s losses in April fights with cor­rup­tion

Azer News - - Karabakh Conflict - By Rashid Shiri­nov

This April marked the first an­niver­sary of the clashes on the con­tact line in NagornoKarabakh, which were dubbed as a ‘four-day war’. Then, in re­sponse to the provo­ca­tions of the Ar­me­nian army, the Azer­bai­jani armed forces in­flicted pow­er­ful strikes at the po­si­tions of the ag­gres­sor coun­try and lib­er­ated sev­eral set­tle­ments and im­por­tant heights.

The Azer­bai­jani De­fense Min­istry an­nounced that roughly 30 tanks, up to 15 ar­mored guns and for­ti­fi­ca­tions be­long­ing to the Ar­me­ni­ans were de­stroyed, 320 Ar­me­nian sol­diers were killed and more than 500 ser­vice­men of the en­emy were wounded dur­ing the clashes.

The armed provo­ca­tion showed that the ag­gres­sor coun­try is not ca­pa­ble to with­stand the power of Azer­bai­jani Army, and also re­vealed the poor state of the Ar­me­nian army. The state-level cor­rup­tion in Ar­me­nia and hor­ri­fy­ing thiev­ery in the mil­i­tary sphere were named among the rea­sons for Ar­me­nia’s big losses.

Ca­su­al­ties dur­ing the es­ca­la­tion of the Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict in April 2016 were not only caused di­rectly by war­fare but also by lowqual­ity fuel, equip­ment mal­func­tions, and in­suf­fi­cient am­mu­ni­tion in the Ar­me­nian army, said Ar­tur Sakunts, head of the Helsinki Cit­i­zens’ Assem­bly Vanad­zor of­fice (HCAV).

A study by the HCAV ear­lier in­di­cated that the loss of the Ar­me­nian side could be lesser if it weren’t for a short­age of am­mu­ni­tion, mal­func­tion­ing weapons and equip­ment.

Af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of the study re­port, the Vanad­zor-based hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tion filed a crime re­port to the Gen­eral Pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice based on its find­ings; the of­fice, how­ever, has left the re­port with­out a re­sponse nei­ther con­sid­er­ing it nor dis­miss­ing it for lack of le­git­i­mate jus­ti­fi­ca­tions.

Sakunts, ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence on April 26 said, HCAV does not in­tend to re­move the mat­ter from the pub­lic agenda.

“We have filed an ap­peal again be­cause we have to see whether they have ac­tu­ally in­ves­ti­gated any­thing. By cov­er­ing up th­ese crimes the au­thor­i­ties are fail­ing to ful­fill their obli­ga­tion to dis­close and pun­ish the vi­o­la­tions of the right of peo­ple to life,” he said.

“We should cen­ter our at­ten­tion not only on the March 1 [2008 post­elec­tion clashes] and Oc­to­ber 27 [1999 Ar­me­nian par­lia­ment shoot­ing] events but also the topic of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, be­cause it showed the vul­ner­a­bil­ity [of the Ar­me­nian armed forces], the grave con­se­quences of the cor­rup­tion and the low qual­ity man­age­ment in the field of de­fense,” Sakunts said.

The bat­tles re­vealed the poor state of the Ar­me­nian army, where sol­diers were left with­out ele­men­tary means of pro­tec­tion, in­clud­ing bul­let-proof vests, hel­mets and night vi­sion de­vices. More­over, it turned out that most of the mil­i­tary equip­ment of the Ar­me­nian army was un­us­able as the ar­mored ve­hi­cles had no fuel, am­mu­ni­tion was sold or “lost”, and money al­lo­cated for the per­son­nel was em­bez­zled.

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