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Rep. Jackie Speier Spearheads Legislation to Hold Azerbaijan Accountable for War Crimes

Updated: Sep 29


Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) officially introduced H.Res.1400 today, along with leaders of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, including Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), condemning the Republic of Azerbaijan's digitally uploaded atrocities and war crimes on Armenia, Artsakh, and the Armenian people, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). "For far too long, Azerbaijan has committed atrocities against Armenian servicemembers and civilians with impunity. From the horrific mutilation of servicemembers' bodies, to beheadings, to the deliberate targeting of medical facilities and religious sites, Azerbaijan has repeatedly shown utter disdain for basic human dignity and international law," Rep. Speier said. "We must hold Aliyev's government accountable for its grave violations of the Geneva Conventions and atrocities committed by his troops against Armenian servicemembers and civilians." Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Resolution references Azerbaijan's participation as a Member State in the United Nations, which requires their "duty to abide by the conditions of the United Nations Charter and pledges reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Azerbaijan also "ratified the Geneva Conventions" in 1993, which "establish international legal standards on the treatment of civilians, prisoners of war (POWs)...," and "prohibits mutilation, cruel treatment and torture..." Rep. Speier's Resolution highlights Azerbaijan's "grave breaches" of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including willful killing...torture, inhumane treatment causing great suffering...and hostage taking." It continues on to cite Azerbaijan's "unprovoked and illegal attack" against the sovereign territory of Armenia on September 13, 2022, which echoed the "large-scale" attack on Artsakh in the Fall of 2020, and detailed war crimes, including the mutilation and desecration of a female servicemember's body by Azerbaijani soldiers, captured on video on September 16, 2022; the striking of a maternity ward in Artsakh by an Azeri artillery rocket on October 28, 2020; Azerbaijani soldiers decapitating two civilians on two separate occasions while they were "bound or pinned to the ground," in video footage authenticated by non-governmental organizations including Amnesty International in October 2020; Azerbaijan's use of white phosphorus munitions, prohibited by the Geneva Conventions that caused "severe burns and the deaths of civilians" in October 2020; as well as the ongoing illegal imprisonment of over 100 Armenian POWs, in stark violation of the November 9, 2020 trilateral ceasefire statement. The Resolution states that the U.S. House of Representatives "condemns Azerbaijan's destabilizing actions, including the commission of war crimes, which have severely undermined the international rule of law," and encourages the United States Government and the global community to petition the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights "to take appropriate steps to investigate any and all war crimes committed by the Azerbaijani forces at the direction of President Ilham Aliyev." The Resolution also calls on Azerbaijan to "immediately investigate all grave violations of the Geneva Conventions perpetrated by Azerbaijani servicemembers against Armenian servicemembers and civilians," and "condemns the intentional or reckless destruction, vandalization, or desecration of all Armenian cultural and religious heritage sites." The U.S. House of Representatives "encourages the Biden administration to explore the applicability of sanctions on Azerbaijan in response to its aggression and potential war crimes," and "reaffirms its support of United States democratic partner Armenia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as that of the Republic of Artsakh, and against Azerbaijan’s military aggression and blatant violations of international laws and norms." Today's Resolution follows H.Res.1351, introduced by Rep. Schiff, which condemns Azerbaijan's unprovoked military attacks on the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh. "We commend Congresswoman Speier, along with her colleagues Reps. Adam Schiff, Frank Pallone and Anna Eshoo, for spearheading this important Resolution during a critical time for the Armenian people in Armenia and Artsakh," said Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "This Resolution brings to light the horrific war crimes and atrocities committed by Azerbaijan during the 44-day War on Artsakh in Fall 2020 as well as earlier this month. The United States and the international community need to stand with the Armenian people, help save lives and prevent another genocide."

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization. 

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NR# 2022-46

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