STRASBOURG—The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy welcomed the European Parliament’s firm position with regard to Azerbaijan, whose representatives were lobbying hard to derail the resolution.
A group calling itself the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), was working to thwart effort to approve the resolution, which strongly condemned Azerbaijan for pardoning axe-murderer Ramil Safarov and subsequently treating him like a hero.
“This astounding case raises, once again, alarming questions about the values, violence and the hatred which Azerbaijan preaches to its citizens. It also is evidence of Azerbaijan’s of respect toward conventions and international treaties,” said Kaspar Karampetian, President of the European Armenian Federation.
The French-Armenian community will protest the arrival of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to Paris on Tuesday.
The European Parliament on Thursday adopted an urgent resolution, by a vote of 58-13 with five abstentions condemning the glorification granted by Azerbaijan to Ramil Safarov, the Azerbaijani officer who brutally hacked lieutenant Gurken Markarian, an officer of the Armenian army, during a Partnership for Peace training program, organized by NATO in Budapest in 2004.
In its urgent resolution, the European Parliament “deplores the hero’s welcome accorded to Mr Safarov in Azerbaijan and the decision to promote him to the rank of major and pay him eight years’ back salary upon his arrival, and is concerned about the example this sets for future generations and about the promotion and recognition he has received from the Azerbaijani state”.
The text reflects the atmosphere of the debate which preceded the vote, during which several European Members of Parliament, such as Véronique de Keyser (group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats – Belgium), Charles Tannock (European Conservatives and Reformists – Great Britain), Lunacek (group of the Greens – Austria) or Vergiat (Confederal group of the European Unified Left – France) expressed their shock as for the grace granted to the murderer by Azerbaijan, and qualified this attitude of “scandalous.” Paska (Europe of Freedom and Democracy group – Slovakia) even compared the Aliyev regime to the Mafia.
Moreover, the Parliament “considers that, while the presidential pardon granted to Mr Safarov complies with the letter of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, it runs contrary to the spirit of that international agreement, which was negotiated to allow the transfer of a person convicted on the territory of one state to serve the remainder of his or her sentence on the territory of another state”, and “considers the presidential pardon granted to Mr Safarov as a violation of the diplomatic assurances given to the Hungarian authorities.”
In addition, the European Parliament took into account all the aspects of this case, and adopted a special paragraph which “reiterates its position that the association agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and Azerbaijan should include clauses and benchmarks relating to the protection and promotion of human rights and the rule of law.”