In October 2020, I wrote the following:
…there is a lot of grief in Azerbaijan over the treatment of Azeris by Armenians, particularly because of forced deportations of Azeris from Armenian controlled regions. If Azerbaijan gains territories and does nothing to the Armenians living there, they could present themselves a a sort of benevolent liberator to the world community, and there is little that Armenia could complain about it or that Russia could criticize, and with the backing of Turkey and NATO, it only favors them.
The point of this was to illustrate that the winner of the Azeri-Armenia conflict, especially if it was Azerbaijan, would need to provide some sort of ‘humanitarianism’ in her approach to the, in this case, conquest of Nagorno-Karabakh in order to prevent serious foreign intervention. If it appeared that a repeat of what happened in 1915 in Armenia was under way, it would seriously damage Azeri- and by extension Turkish -attempts to justify control over that area.
However, in what appears to have been a very smart move by Azerbaijan politically speaking, she is bringing charges against soldiers who mutilated Armenian soldiers as war criminals.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, despite the fact that the civilian population of Azerbaijan has been attacked by Armenia since the first day of counter-offensive operations to liberate the occupied territories, instructed to adhere to the norms and principles of international humanitarian law, including the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. Soldiers and officers of the Azerbaijani Army, guided by the instructions of the Supreme Bass Command, during the liberation of our lands from the occupation of the civilian population, including women, children and the elderly, captured servicemen,
It is unfortunate that under the influence of the severe psychological state of the war, the mistakes of some servicemen in understanding the methods and techniques of fighting the enemy have led to the courage and crushing of the Armed Forces, as well as illegal actions that could overshadow the victory.
Thus, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan analyzed video footage of Azerbaijani servicemen insulting the bodies of Armenian servicemen killed in hostilities, as well as inhumane treatment of captured Armenian servicemen, published in some media and social media pages. Although some of the videos were found to be fake, there were serious doubts as to whether they were true or not.
R.Aliyev, G.Abishov, A.Huseynov and U.Agayev were involved in the case under the relevant articles of the Criminal Code, and the court decided to arrest them.
Necessary research will be conducted on other videos spread on social media and the public will be provided with detailed information about the results.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan declares that the above-mentioned criminal acts committed by the servicemen of the Republic of Azerbaijan are unacceptable and contradict the mentality of the Azerbaijani people, which is tolerant, prefers multicultural values and is historically humane. Persons who have committed similar violations will be brought to justice by taking measures provided by law.
In accordance with the recommendations of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, 101 civilians were killed by the Armenian Armed Forces, despite public statements by the law enforcement agencies on the investigation of criminal cases. Regarding the wounding of 423 civilians, as well as the insulting actions of Armenian servicemen on the bodies of Azerbaijani servicemen killed during hostilities, as well as the inhumane treatment of captured Azerbaijani servicemen, the Armenian law enforcement agencies, unfortunately, as well as no action was taken and no explanation was given by the Prosecutor General’s Office without conducting any investigation.
It should be noted that the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan has taken necessary and intensive measures on insulting the bodies of Azerbaijani servicemen killed during hostilities, videos of inhumane treatment of captured Azerbaijani servicemen, and all crimes related to killing and injuring Azerbaijani civilians. investigative actions are underway. The Prosecutor General’s Office will take all possible measures to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice within the existing legal mechanism and international law.
At the same time, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan urges the Armenian law enforcement agencies to take similar steps to take serious legal action, conduct an open and fair investigation and inform the public about crimes committed against Azerbaijani citizens in accordance with the norms and principles of international law. (source)
I have included much of the prosecutor’s statement because clearly, this is not an apology, the prosecutions are clearly political, and there is absolutely no love shown to Armenia at all. In fact, it is the opposite, to portray Armenia as ungrateful, unbalanced, and inclined to war criminal behavior, while making Azerbaijan look good. Even with these “prosecutions”, Azerbaijan aggressively defended many of the videos, saying they were ‘fake’ or exaggerations.
There is no actual peace here. There is only the image of peace, and the image of caring a thought about “human rights” or other tropes that dictators use to hide their real intentions. But that is all that matters to them, because the purpose is to create a legitimizing image in order that eventually, with Nagorno-Karabakh under their control and Armenia encircled but cut off from most economic activity, to repeat what happened last century in the Ottoman Empire.