Video of Azeri soldiers allegedly killing Armenian POWs surfaces on social media

Alledged Armenian POWs seconds before being executed. Photo: Ebuselmnbelarus Twitter account

A gruesome video which allegedly shows the moment in which a group of captured Armenian soldiers is surrounded by Azeri troops and executed surfaced on social media. Although the footage is yet to be verified, the Armenian side has no doubt as to its authenticity, while Azeris accuse Armenians of committing similar atrocities.

“The moment of killing the Armenians captured by the Azerbaijani army in the recent clashes,” a Twitter user described the video and commented that “it's hard to understand [what is going on in] the mind of a soldier in the field, although it is bad...”

EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar said that if it is proven that the video is genuine, it is a war crime that must be investigated and the perpetrators punished.

Mr Klaar’s Tweet caused a flurry of responses, with pro-Armenian users calling on him to clearly identify the perpetrators and the victims, while pro-Azeri users began posting graphic footage and images of atrocities that were supposed to be perpetrated by the Armenian side.

“Received this night a terrible video showing Azeri soldiers executing several Armenian prisoners of war at point-blank range. This video of new war crimes [by Azebaijan] is being verified (by media and international bodies),” wrote Le Figaro’s Jean-Christophe Buisson. If authentic, the footage was likely recorded back in mid-September, with September 13 and 14 as the likeliest dates, speculated Neil Hauer, a journalist for CNN and the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

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While the international community calls for the footage to be verified, Yerevan has little doubt as to its authenticity.

“At the moment, we cannot provide any specific information about the location and chronology, the relevant authorities are studying the video,” said Aram Torosyan, the spokesperson for the Armenian Ministry of Defence.

“We think there is no doubt about its authenticity, it is handwriting typical of the Azerbaijani armed forces. That style is known to us and the international community from the irrefutable evidence of previous similar incidents,” he added.

Later on Sunday, Armenian Human Rights Defender Kristinne Grigoryan released a statement according to which her office has verified the authenticity of the video and confirmed it has been recorded on September 13.

“The fact is confirmed by the study of the terrain, comparison with similar videos available in our and other databases, as well as the complex combination of weather conditions, uniforms of servicemen, conversation of Azerbaijani servicemen and other parameters,” said the Armenian ombudsman.

“This is yet another war crime committed by the Azerbaijani armed forces based on the consistent policy of Armenophobia manifested in the educational content, all spheres of public life and in the statements of the President of the country. This is also recorded in the recent report of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination concerning Azerbaijan,” Ms Grigoryan added.