Armenia urges international action over Karabakh 'ethnic cleansing'

AFP , Thursday 28 Sep 2023

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday urged international action over what he called the "ethnic cleansing" of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and suggested failure to act could be seen as complicity.

Refugees sit on the back of a truck with loaded belongings near Kornidzor on September 28, 2023. AFP


"If the condemnation (by the international community) is not followed by adequate political and legal decisions, then these condemnations become acts of agreement with what is happening," Pashinyan told members of his cabinet.

"The exodus of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh continues. Our analysis shows that in the coming days, there will be no Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. This is an act of ethnic cleansing of which we were warning the international community for a long time," he added.

Meanwhile, an Azerbaijani court on Thursday placed former Nagorno-Karabakh separatist leader Ruben Vardanyan in pre-trial detention, after charging him with financing terrorism and other crimes.

A Baku court ruled that Vardanyan, a businessman who headed the ethnic Armenian region from November 2022 until February this year, should be arrested and placed in pre-trial detention for four months, Azerbaijan's state security service said.

Vardanyan has also been charged with creating an illegal armed organisation, according to the charge sheet presented by the security service.

The crimes could see Vardanyan, who was born in 1968, jailed for up to 14 years.

Azerbaijan has agreed to allow separatists who lay down their weapons to leave for Armenia under the terms of a ceasefire deal reached last Wednesday.

But an Azerbaijani government source told AFP that border guards were also looking for "war crime" suspects who had to face prosecution.

Armenian Prime Minister on Thursday accused Azerbaijani border guards of "conducting illegal arrests" of ethnic Armenians trying to flee the separatist region.

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