EURONEST PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY
STATEMENT BY ELKHAN SULEYMANOV, MP
VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE ASSEMBLY
CHAIRMAN OF THE AZERBAIJANI DELEGATION
MEMBER OF PACE
On February 18th 2013 presidential elections were organized in Armenia. The international community noted “a lack of impartiality of the public administration, misuse of administrative resources during the elections, and cases of pressure on voters were of concern. They stated that undue interference in the process, mainly by proxies representing the incumbent, and some serious violations were observed on the election day.”
These serious remarks by the international community however are not of our concern. We’re not concerned also about the facts that one of the candidates was shot and wounded during the election campaign, another candidate held hunger strike to protest against violations during the campaign, and finally, a huge part of the Armenian society did not recognize the results of the elections protesting against numerous and serious legal violations.
But we do are concerned and deeply regret the fact that the international community positively evaluates the presidential elections in Armenia in the light of democracy, human rights, and rule of law. After all, that country conducted an armed aggression against its neighbour Azerbaijan, keeps 20% of Azerbaijani territories under military occupation so far, carried out a policy of ethnic cleansing in those occupied territories, thus, they massively and grossly violated the rights of about one million ethnic Azerbaijanis, who became refugees and internally displaced people. Be reminded that Armenia was faced repeatedly with its international and legal accountability for those war crimes not only by Azerbaijan but also by the entire world community. Armenia’s aggressive activities, war crimes and crimes against humanity contradict democracy, human rights, and rule of law and at the same time, prove the unwillingness of this state to recognize these international principles. Therefore, the evaluation itself of the presidential elections in Armenia in the light of democracy, human rights, and rule of law is the manifestation of disrespect to these values.
The aggravating point is that Serj Sargisyan, commander of the armed Armenian groups, which committed a brutal genocide against innocent civilians in the town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan on 26th February of 1992, has been elected President.
Thomas de Waal, senior associate of the Washington DC-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace writes in his book “Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War” that when he asked Armenian Military Commander Serzh Sargsyan to talk about the occupation of Khojaly, he told: “Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype].”
Serzh Sargsyan indeed acknowledges that he is one of the authors and participants of the bloody ethnic crimes against civilians in Khojaly. However, today the world faces that Sargsyan, who is directly responsible for massacring mercilessly hundreds of innocent civilians, is re-elected a president.
The most incomprehensible is that by evaluating elections and its results in the light of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the international community neglects just like that the fact of the armed aggression by Armenia against Azerbaijan, the occupation of 20% of its lands for 25 years, all war crimes and crimes against humanity, and even applauds the election of a war criminal as a head of state. The international community, therefore, casts serious doubt on all its fundamental standards such as democratic values, respect to human rights and rule of law, as envisaged in its documents. This proves the corrosion of the system of democratic values and their assessment.
Regretfully, the international community turns a blind eye to the massive and gross violations of human rights of about 1 million Azerbaijani citizens by Armenia, the presence of refugees and internally displaced people for more than 20 years, and the failure to ensure their basic rights to return to their homelands and live safely.
On the other hand, the international community is obviously not concerned about the true essence of elections held by a government, which is officially responsible for such grave crimes. Whereas these aggressive crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity clearly contradict with all principles of human rights and democracy, highly respected members of official delegations representing the most important international organizations, such as OSCE/ODIHR, OSCE PA, PACE, and European Parliament welcome these elections. Such an anti-democratic position may incite new disputable issues between other member states, even justifying new wars in the future, and will for sure undermine the confidence of world nations in democracy.
We voice our protest against the attempts of the international community to evaluate elections in Armenia and in particular against the election of the person as a president, who committed grave crimes against innocent civilians, in the light of democracy, respect of human rights and the rule of law, and to consider these elections illegitimate.
Taking into consideration all the above-mentioned, we call on the international community and the official election observation missions to consider the presidential elections in Armenia and the election of Serzh Sargsyan illegitimate. Moreover, we demand the European Union to refuse signing the Association Agreement with Armenia till the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from military occupation, and to discuss the current situation on this issue in the OSCE and CoE Parliamentary Assemblies, the European Parliament, and other international organizations.
It should be kept in mind that only a fair evaluation of the elections in Armenia will help to prevent the deepening of current hostile relations between the Azerbaijani and Armenian nations because of the ongoing military occupation of Azerbaijan by Armenia. It is also the only way to help preventing the beginning of new aggressive wars in other countries.
Elkhan Suleymanov, MP