Nagorno-Karabakh 'execution' video prompts Council of Europe war crime probe: report

©Al-Araby Al-Jadeed

Europe's top human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, is investigating a video it has received of an alleged Azerbaijani execution of captured Armenian soldiers, the BBCreported on Saturday.

As the fighting continues between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, videos of an alleged war crime have emerged on social media platforms.

One video viewed by The New Arab depicted what appears to be the shooting of two captured Armenian soldiers draped with Armenian flags, while their hands are tied behind their backs.

Armenia has publicly identified the killed soldiers as 73-year-old Benik Hakobyan and 25-year-old Yuri Adamyan, while Azerbaijan has dismissed the videos as fake.

In an exclusive investigation, the BBC said it analysed videos from the two warring sides, but could only verify two clips to be what they purported to be.

After studying the clips of the apparent execution of war prisoners, the BBC confirmed they were filmed in Hadrut – a town in southern Nagorno-Karabakh. The investigation also confirmed the man giving commands is "a native Azerbaijani speaker with a regional accent".

Read also: Turkey's Armenians 'cannot breathe' as Karabakh rhetoric rages

The BBC investigation additionally found that a clip on Telegram – circulating as the alleged shooting of an Azerbaijani prisoner of war by Armenian soldiers – is actually a 2013 video from Russia.

Azerbaijan claimed it took control of Hadrut on October 9. The videos appeared nearly a week later. Azerbaijan's prosecutor general has claimed to conduct an investigation which found the videos to be "fake".

Since the fighting erupted on September 27, dozens of civilians have been confirmed killed, while thousands of soldiers are beleived to have died in the conflict.

Dozens of civilians have been confirmed killed and the Armenian side has acknowledged 350 military deaths, while Azerbaijan has not admitted to any fatalities among its troops.

Turkey's strong backing for Azerbaijan has sown fears that the conflict could spiral into a full-blown war embroiling Ankara with Moscow, which sells weapons to both sides but has a military treaty with Armenia.

The mountainous enclave, home to over 100,000 ethnic Armenians, is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.

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