Elkhan Suleymanov: “PACE Legal Affairs Committee confirms that the pardoning of Ramil Safarov is in full compliance with international legislation” - INTERVIEW

Elkhan Suleymanov: “PACE Legal Affairs Committee confirms that the pardoning of Ramil Safarov is in full compliance with international legislation” - <font color=red>INTERVIEW</font>
# 07 September 2012 15:23 (UTC +04:00)
Elkhan Suleymanov, the member of azerbaijani delegation to PACE, head of the Azerbaijani delegation at the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly told APA on this issue.

- “Was it a tough debate to convince the members that the extradition and the pardoning are not violating international legislation?”

The head The Committee confirmed that the extradition of Ramil Safarov from Hungary to Azerbaijan, as well as his pardoning by President Ilham Aliyev are in full compliance with international and national legislation. Chairman of the Committee declared that he obtained legal advice from different sides, all confirming that the extradition as well as the pardoning was not in violation with the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. Mr Safarov was pardoned in full accordance with Article 12 of the above-mentioned Convention which allows explicitly any member country to grant pardon of sentence in such a case. So the debate shifted to personal and emotional remarks by Armenians and some other member. Of course I reacted on those remarks in my speech, stressing that in a Legal Affairs Committee the matter should be considered from an objective legal aspect, not from a subjective emotional one.

- Facts happened in Hungary already more than eight years ago. What is to your opinion the real reason for Armenians to make such a big drama today in international media?

It’s clear that Armenians have the only goal to consolidate their illegal presence in the occupied territories and to reject the demand of all international organizations, such as the United Nations and the European Union, to witdraw their armed forces unconditionally from these territories. By fabricating this dramatic window-dressing, they only aim at that consolidation of the actual situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

-May I remind you that Armenia never admitted that they are illegally occupying a part of Azerbaijan...

-That is no longer true. During the debate on Tuesday in the Monitoring committee, Davit Harutyunyan, Armenian MP got so nervous about the draft report and about our arguments that he insisted on correcting the draft report where it mentions that 20 % of Azerbaijan is under Armenian occupation. He insisted that it would read that only 15 % is under Armenian occupation, as if the exact percentage makes any difference. He also admitted that 700 thousand but not 1 million Azerbaijanis were forced to leave their home and to be refugees in their own country. In the same way some experts claim that Hitler killed only 4 million Jews, and not 6 million, and for this reason after all he is not such a bad guy...That is of course ridiculous. So yes, this Armenian MP confessed publicly that Armenia is illegally occupying a neighbor member state of the Council of Europe. By the way, I immediately expressed my deep disappointment to the committee members because they all kept silent confronted to the Armenian confession of this sad reality.

-So, to your opinion, the PACE should be more active in this field?

-Of course! How can you in a credible way deal with human rights, rule of law and good neigbourship if you can even not enforce the implementation of international resolutions to a member state who is occupying another member state? The Bureau of PACE, being well aware of this problem, instructed a subcommittee on Nagorno-Karabakh to keep up the dialogue and to develop possible solutions. But precisely the Armenians never showed up to any meeting during last 2 years. During this week’s debates the Spanish chairman of that subcommittee publicly expressed his regret and his concern about this ongoing negative Armenian attitude. Yet they were never sanctioned. On the other hand it is becoming more and clearer to all observers that Armenians only aim at a status-quo, that they don’t sincerely look for a solution, and for sure they don’t want to comply with the existing international resolutions. And to my opinion, the incident of Ramil Safarov as well as so many other unfortunate incidents such as the continuous killing of Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian snipers, which don’t get any international media attention, are the result of the non-implementation by Armenia of these resolutions.

-Were these killings of Azerbaijani civilians also raised in the Committee?

-Today I have informed the PACE’s Committee that, according official data, during first 5 years of the conflict 1250 Azerbaijani civilians were killed and 1283 injured by Armenians, in many cases by snipers. 65 civilians were missed. And this process continues. I stressed that we have of course also regularly tabled our complaints about those brutal killings before the Council of Europe, European Parliament and other international organizations (UN, OSCE, etc), but to our regret we only remember their complete silence, as well as the silence in international media. Whereas the Azerbaijani lieutenant Ramil Safarov spent more than eight years in prison, not one single Armenian was ever prosecuted for killing thousands of Azerbaijani civilians since twenty years. The international community never condemned this Armenian violence and even remained totally indifferent to any Azerbaijani complaint in this regard.

-You mentioned earlier the debate in the Monitoring Committee with regard to a draft report on Azerbaijan. Is this report acceptable for you?

- The monitoring report itself covers development in all related fields for the period of last 4 years. The most important is that the document for the first time in the history of PACE stresses reality of non-resolution of the Nagorno – Karabakh conflict, criticizes invalidity of the OSCE’s Minsk Group, Iran’s threat against existence of independent Azerbaijan, geopolitical reality of the entire region and local people’s expectation from Europe in this regard. Together with our Azerbaijani delegation leader, Samad Seyidov, MP, I took the floor to give my first comments. The report is a very comprehensive document, and I do appreciate that it is mostly based on facts and figures, and is also referring to those data, even when several elements to my opinion absolutely need to be corrected. In this regard, I mentioned a few paragraphs that are at this stage not, or not fully, in accordance with reality and need detailed investigation. We will for sure use the next weeks and months to send to the reporters several proposals, in order to include them in the report according the procedure.
-It was quite a busy week for you in Paris, defending Azerbaijani interests in different committees of PACE. But what about the European Parliament and the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, in which you are the head of the Azerbaijani delegation? Are they concerned by this Safarov case ?

-Yes, this week in Paris was really challenging, but together with my colleagues - our delegation leader, Samad Seyidov, MP, and Rafael Huseynov, MP, we did our best efforts for represent people of Azerbaijan and defend their interests in the PACE by standing against some attacks. Facing to the European Parliament agenda, I would recall that after different statements were recently made by European politicians with regard to Safarov, Azerbaijan Delegation to the EURONEST PA have of course immediately addressed the President of the European Parliament, Leaders of Political Groups, Members of the European Parliament, Co-chairs of EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly, Members of EURONEST from Eastern Partnership countries in an official letter, in order to clarify and to defend the Azerbaijani position. This letter was send yesterday.

-Mr. Suleymanov, what is your personal conclusion to all this commotion?

-As I told the members of the Legal Affairs Committee today: despite the fact that our religions are different, people on the Earth have all a common God. I invite all decision makers to support fairness and justice, and to stop any double standard or decimation.