The Armenian National Committee of Canada’s (ANCC) statement on the Occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Axe Murder during the NATO Sponsored Course -
Ottawa – The Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) reminds the international community of the horrific axe murder of Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan , committed by Azerbaijani lieutenant Ramil Safarov during a NATO- sponsored course.
The ANCC condemns the pardoning and rewarding of this convicted killer by the government of Azerbaijan.
On February 18, 2004, while both men were participating in a NATO-sponsored course in Hungary, Azerbaijani lieutenant Ramil Safarov axed to death Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan, when the latter was sleeping. Safarov subsequently admitted to the murder, and was convicted by a Hungarian court and sentenced to life in prison for his heinous act. Hungary had consistently refused extradition until August 2012, when it allowed Safarov to return to Azerbaijan, under assurances and promises by Azerbaijani officials that he would serve out his full prison term. However, upon his arrival in Azerbaijan, Safarov was welcomed as a hero, received a full presidential pardon by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev and was promoted to a Major rank in addition to receiving various compensations.
In recent weeks, Azeri forces attacked Armenian positions on more than one occasion on the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s border, resulting in the death of an Armenian soldier and the wounding of a 16 year-old youngster.
These recent violations of the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict represent an escalation of the on-going disregard by Azerbaijan for the OSCE Minsk Group efforts to solve the conflict peacefully. The OSCE Minsk Group was created in 1992 by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), now renamed Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Canada is a member of the OSCE which is headed by a French, Russian and American co-chairmanship.
Azerbaijan's latest actions are another clear example of how the Aliev regime continues to incite ethnic hatred and violence, and threaten peace in the region; all in an effort to deflect focus away from its own corrupt practices. With a track record of complete disregard for international law, and continuous abuse of human rights, Azerbaijan cannot be trusted as a credible partner to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process brought forth by the OSCE Minsk Group.
The extradition and pardoning of Safarov in 2012 raised concerns in the OSCE Minsk Group's co-chairmanship countries of Russia, France and the United States (where both the White House and Congressional leaders strongly expressed their concerns regarding Azerbaijan's actions). On the other hand, Hungarian officials had said that they acted in good faith.
“Political leaders in Canada and throughout the world should condemn Azerbaijan's blatant disregard for international law and its ongoing belligerence. The world community must now demonstrate that Azerbaijan cannot continue its unlawful and inhumane actions. This notorious human rights abusing regime, headed by Aliev, is, once more, characterized as 'murderous' “, stated ANCC President Dr. Girair Basmadjian,
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues.