Friday Wrap-up: aftermath of an ‘anti-terrorist’ operation and compensation to journalists

Russian peacekeepers. Illustration: Meydan TV

The week of September 17-22 saw the developments of a supposed ‘anti-terrorist’ operation carried out by Azerbaijan into Nagorno-Karabakh and ECHR condemning Azerbaijan to pay for violating the rights of journalists.

Conflict re-unfold in Nagorno-Karabakh region

On September 19th, escalating tensions and incidents unfolded in the Nagorno-Karabakh region after a Kamaz truck struck an anti-tank mine in Azerbaijan’s Khojavend region, resulting in the immediate deaths of the driver and a passenger. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense declared an “anti-terrorist operation” in Nagorno-Karabakh, aiming to supposedly disarm and withdraw Armenian armed forces from the region. Shelling in the city of Khakendi (Steparnek) and attacks on Armenian radar stations further heightened tensions, leading to casualties, including eight children.

Amid these events, the European Union (EU) called for an immediate halt to Azerbaijani military operations in Karabakh. Azerbaijan received support from Turkey’s Minister of National Defense, Yashar Güler. International observers closely monitored the situation, expressing concerns about its regional impact.

An Armenian delegation arrived in Yevlakh, Azerbaijan, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers, to initiate discussions aimed at addressing the conflict and agreeing on a cease-fire. After achieved, allegations of ceasefire breaches arose, with Armenian media claiming that Azerbaijani armed forces violated the agreement.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister addresses UN Security Council on Karabakh situation

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov addressed the UN Security Council on September 21, asserting that Azerbaijan had acted within the framework of the UN Charter by exercising its right to self-defense in the Karabakh region.

He criticized Armenia’s appeal to the Security Council, labeling it a breach of the UN Charter’s principles of respecting sovereignty, territorial integrity, and non-interference in internal affairs. Bayramov argued that the Security Council’s discussion, prompted by alleged concerns for the safety of Armenian residents in Karabakh, had become redundant since ‘anti-terrorism’ activities in the region had already ceased.

Minister Bayramov defended Azerbaijan’s actions in Karabakh as self-defense in accordance with the UN Charter and criticized Armenia’s appeal to the Security Council as a violation of UN principles.

Azerbaijan offers amnesty to surrendering Armenian Armed Forces in Karabakh

Azerbaijan has announced amnesty provisions for former members of the Armenian armed forces in the Karabakh region who surrender their arms, as revealed by Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev, during an interview with Reuters.

This amnesty would even apply to former military personnel and combatants if they choose to lay down their arms. Hajiyev claimed that some military personnel in Karabakh have expressed their intent to continue resisting, with some groups taking refuge in the forest, though he downplayed this as a major concern. He also mentioned that humanitarian aid requested by the Armenians in Karabakh should be delivered to the region on September 22, and Azerbaijan aims for the peaceful reintegration of Karabakh Armenians.

Azerbaijan fined by ECHR over journalists’ travel ban

Azerbaijan has been fined 16,500 euros (approximately 30,000 AZN) by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of three journalists from Meydan TV. The fine was imposed due to the unlawful restriction on independent journalists from leaving the country. The ECHR issued a decision on September 21 in the case of “Aynur Ganbarova v. Azerbaijan” based on complaints from the three journalists: Aynur Ganbarova (Elgunesh), Natig Javadli, and Aytaj Ahmadova.

The journalists claimed that their rights to a fair trial, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and effective legal protection were violated. They argued that the restrictions placed on them had purposes different from those outlined in the Convention. The ECHR found the complaints admissible and recognized violations of Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 of the Convention and Article 13 of the Convention.

The travel ban on the journalists had been imposed as part of a criminal case related to the activities of Meydan TV. Despite being interrogated as witnesses and not facing trial, accusations, or suspicions in the criminal proceedings, they were prevented from leaving the country. The applicants had challenged the legality of these restrictions in both administrative and ordinary courts, but local courts had refused to investigate their case. The ECHR’s decision upheld the journalists’ complaint, but the Azerbaijani government maintained that their claims were unfounded and excessive. The government has been ordered to pay the specified compensation to each applicant within three months.

ГлавнаяFeaturedFriday Wrap-up: aftermath of an ‘anti-terrorist’ operation and compensation to journalists