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European Court Demands Compensation from Azerbaijan for Killing Three Armenian Soldiers


European Court Demands Compensation from Azerbaijan for Killed Three Armenian Soldiers

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled in favor of the relatives of three Armenian soldiers killed in 2016, ordering Azerbaijan to pay 16,000 euros ($17,560) in compensation. Additionally, Azerbaijan has been directed to pay 2,780 euros ($3000) for costs and expenses, along with any applicable taxes.


The applicants, comprising ten Armenian nationals residing in Yerevan and Stepanavan, are the parents and/or siblings of Edgar Narayan, Erik Abovyan, and Shavarsh Melikyan. These soldiers, serving in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, tragically lost their lives on December 29, 2016, while stationed at the Bitlis military post near the village of Chinari in the Tavush region of Armenia.


Following the incident, a criminal investigation was swiftly initiated by Armenia's Chief Military Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee. Forensic reports and witness statements were among the evidence gathered during the investigation, which concluded that Çingiz Gurbanov, a soldier in the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, had illegally crossed the Armenian border that day. Gurbanov advanced towards Bitlis and fatally shot the three Armenian soldiers.


The applicants' case, based on Articles 2 (right to life), 13 (right to an effective remedy), and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights, raised several critical concerns. They contended that the soldiers' killings were unlawful as there was no ongoing armed conflict at that time. Additionally, they alleged discrimination based on ethnicity and national origin, highlighting Azerbaijan's failure to conduct a thorough and effective investigation into the incident.


The ruling by the ECtHR signifies a recognition of the violations asserted by the applicants and a call for accountability from Azerbaijan in the context of this regrettable event. The awarded compensation serves as a gesture toward acknowledging the profound loss suffered by the families of the deceased soldiers.


This judgment underscores the ECtHR's commitment to upholding human rights and providing recourse for individuals affected by violations, further emphasizing the imperative for comprehensive investigations and accountability in cases of conflict-related incidents.


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