Armenians File War Crimes Lawsuits Against Azerbaijan

A man walks through the ruins of his house in the village of Talish, on April 6, 2016 (AFP Photo by Karen Minasyan)
A man walks through the ruins of his house in the village of Talish, on April 6, 2016 (AFP Photo by Karen Minasyan)

A man walks through the ruins of his house in the village of Talish, on April 6, 2016 (AFP Photo by Karen Minasyan)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Hundreds of Armenians have filed government-backed lawsuits in the European Court of Human Rights accusing Azerbaijan of beheading Armenian soldiers and committing other atrocities during last year’s heavy fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ara Ghazaryan, an Armenian legal expert involved in the unprecedented legal action, said on Tuesday that the Strasbourg-based court has already requested official information from Baku on over 20 of the 359 lawsuits filed from Armenia and Karabakh.

“We expect a just compensation,” Ghazarian told a joint news conference with Armenia’s and Karabakh’s human rights ombudsmen. “It could be both a recognition of the violations [of the European Convention on Human Rights] and subsequent compensation for material and moral damages. But first and foremost, we must ensure that the European Court recognizes that there were violations.”

An elderly couple was brutally murdered by Azerbaijani soldier during last year's April War (Photo by

An elderly couple was brutally murdered by Azerbaijani soldier during last year’s April War (Photo by

The war crimes alleged by the plaintiffs stem from the April 2016 hostilities in and around Karabakh which left least 180 soldiers from both warring sides dead. The authorities in Stepanakert and Yerevan say that three Armenian soldiers were beheaded by Azerbaijani troops at the time. They claim that one of them, the 31-year-old Major Hayk Toroyan, was still alive when his Azerbaijani captors began cutting off his head.

The headless body of another soldier, Kyaram Sloyan, was handed over to his family and buried on April 4, 2016, two days after the Azerbaijani army launched an offensive at two sections of the Karabakh “line of contact.” The family living in a village in central Armenia received the 19-year-old’s severed head later on.

According to Karabakh prosecutors, 15 other Armenian soldiers had their ears cut off after being killed by Azerbaijani forces.

Another Armenian lawsuit filed in Strasbourg stems from the violent deaths of three elderly members of a family in Talish, a village in northern Karabakh that was devastated by Azerbaijani shelling in April 2016. They were reportedly murdered by Azerbaijani commandos that burst into their home located on the outskirts of Talish.


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  1. Edward Demiraiakian said:

    I am pleased to see that what I have been advocating is finally being implemented. Not taking credit, just saying. Obtaining a favorable judgement is easier than collecting. However, in this case, the Alyevs have immense assets all over the world. Properties worth millions. So collecting is going to be swift. It will not only go a long way to compensate, but the propaganda value is immense.

  2. Ararat said:

    I really don’t get what good this is going to do. Deliberate attacks on peaceful Armenian population in border villages have been going on for a decade and ever since this donkey-brain inbred pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijani chicken-hawk Aliyev came to power in 2003 after his father’s death. This animal is an anti-Armenian racist psychopath and this is not how you deal with such imbeciles. What the heck is ECHR going to do? Nothing! You need the forceful and determined backing of major powers in Europe and USA to make this coward change his ways. But how will you do that when this despot has oil and Europe is reliant on that. AND major European and American oil companies are heavily invested in the Caspian oil. In essence, this is like asking the fox to watch over the hen house.

    We need to take care of this thug ourselves. The way you do that is to raze half a dozen Azerbaijani border villages to the ground and cause massive human and collateral damages. The next time you double their casualties. These people only understand and respect the language of force and that is how they should be dealt with. Stop pandering to the spineless Europeans and American double dealers. How can you expect anything tangible be done by these powers when the supposed Armenian ally Russia is giving our enemy the capability to launch such attacks in the first place?

    Whenever we Armenians only rely on ourselves and take action is when we truly triumph. This kind of mentality and how we dealt with the enemy 25 years ago should be the only way and a blueprint in putting these racist nomads in their place. We need to punish them with massive fire power and in many folds to make them think twice the next time before they resort to such behavior. We need to show them that every single Armenian life is precious and they will pay for it. There is NO other way.

  3. Vagharshak Sevulyan said:

    Taking this barbaric Azeris nothing for them , they just understand bottom of the gun , We are wasting our energy taking them to court, for our lawsuits they get more wild beast and kill more , punishing them to send them to hell if it is possible all of them. Not depend Russia , USA or else. These countries just know to sell weapons and create wars to put money in they pocket , they do not care people dying. turks and azeris barbaric mongol race.