To Mr Jakob Kellenberger, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross
Copies: Ms Nadya Kebir Raoloson (Head of Delegation in Armenia)
Ms Ruzanna Vardanyan
Mrs. Chérine Pollini (Head of Delegation in Azerbaijan)
Ms Ilhana Huseynova
Dear Mr Kellenberger
The circumstances leading up to death of the 20-year-old Armenian citizen on 5 October in Baku, forces us to apply to you, the leader of the international organizations, which positions itself as "an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence."
On September 11 a resident of the Armenian village Ttu Jur Manvel Saribekian lost his way and was taken prisoner by the Azerbaijani forces. After a few days on one of the Azerbaijani TV channels was demonstrated a video interview in which Saribekian said that was directed to Azerbaijan with the aim of committing a terrorist act. This video, which today is available on internet on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaoHVwGy_2g&feature=related, is an evidence of violence and torture against the prisoner aimed at an anti-Armenian propaganda.
Defense Ministry of Armenia, a number of public organizations and journalists made an appeal for the ICRC to draw attention to the flagrant violation by Azerbaijan of the Geneva Convention taken on August 12, 1949 on Treatment with Prisoner of War, and, in particular, Art. 13 of Section 2, which states: “… prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”
The Armenian society also demanded the right of visiting the young prisoner by the representatives of the ICRC in accordance with the international humanitarian law. However, these calls remained unanswered. During the three weeks of Mr. Saribekyan’s imprisonment in Baku until his early death the ICRC and its local mission didn’t manage to visit Mr. Saribekyan.
On October 5 in the Azerbaijani media was issued an article stating that Manvel Saribekian committed suicide through hanging. All the above mentioned facts indicate that in reality, the prisoner was either driven to suicide through tortures and humiliations or was simply killed. Until now, the independent sources, including the ICRC, did not confirm the facts about his death. The body of the deceased is not yet returned to the Armenian side.
We demand a thorough investigation with the participation of the international and Armenian experts of the circumstances of detention and treatment with hostage Manvel Saribekyan and his death (if this corresponds with the truth). In case of the confirmation of the death of Armenian citizen we demand immediate return of the body to the family of the deceased, according to the norms of the Geneva Conventions. We also demand a fair assessment of Azerbaijan’s harsh violations of the Geneva Conventions under which stands the signature of that county, as well as the basic human rights. We require the assessment of the behavior of Azerbaijani and Armenian delegations of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which, due to their inaction, actually assisted Azerbaijan in committing a crime against the citizen of Armenia.
We are hopeful that in the near future we will witness the decisive actions of the International Committee of the Red Cross in full accordance with the mission of the organization and the norms of the international humanitarian law.