Nagorno Karabakh‘s State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons on Sunday, April 10 exchanged bodies of fallen soldiers with the Azerbaijani side near the settlement of Bash Karvend.
The exchange was organized in accordance with an agreement, previously reached between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Karabakh Foreign Ministry said, providing no other details.
The bodies of 18 servicemen of Karabakh Defense Army were transferred to the Karabakh side.
In the presence of a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Commission registered that all bodies transferred by the Azerbaijani side had signs of torture and mutilation.
“Those acts, being a flagrant manifestation of inhumanity, run counter to the laws and customs of war and are in grave violation of the international humanitarian law, in particular, the Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (1949), Geneva Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (1949) and the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I),” the Commission said in a statement.
“Karabakh will seek to ensure that Azerbaijan’s behavior is condemned in strongest terms by the international community and relevant agencies, and those responsible are brought to account.”
The parties to the Karabakh conflict agreed on a bilateral ceasefire along the contact line which came into force at midday, April 5.
Prior to that, on the night of April 1-2, Azerbaijani armed forces initiated overt offensive operations in the southern, southeastern and northeastern directions of the line of contact with Nagorno Karabakh.
As of April 5, the Azerbaijani side has lost 26 tanks and 4 infantry fighting vehicles, as well as 1 BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher, 1 engineering vehicle, 2 military helicopters and 14 unmanned aerial vehicles. The Azerbaijani side has admitted the loss of 31 fighters, 1 helicopter and 1 unmanned drone, whereas the Armenian side’s photo and video materials show dozens of killed Azerbaijani troops, 1 helicopter and 3 UAVs. Opposition media outlets, however, reported on the death of 93 Azerbaijani soldiers, stating that 33 more have been wounded. According to Karabakh authorities, 300 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in clashes.
14 Karabakh tanks have been neutralized since April 2.