BjÃ¶rn Rahm: ICRC regularly visits persons detained in relation to conflict
- 19 July 2018
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has commented on reports alleging that Dilgam Asgarov did not send a letter to his family members for 8 months.
Björn Rahm, Protection Coordinator of the Delegation of the ICRC in Azerbaijan told APA that the ICRC delegation in Baku and Mission in Nagorno-Karabakh regularly visit persons detained in relation to the conflict.
“The ICRC provides them opportunities to maintain contacts with their families. However, detained persons as well as their family members have the right to refuse the offer. It depends on their decision and we cannot force them if they do not want. When the detained person receives a letter from the family, but does not want to write a reply, we inform the family accordingly. But we do not make public statements in this regard,” he noted.
Rahm said that detention visits of ICRC have a purely humanitarian purpose.
“Under Geneva Conventions, the ICRC has the mandate to visit detained persons during armed conflicts. The ICRC does not investigate or question the reason of detention. This is not under our mandate. Our mandate is to monitor conditions of detention and treatment afforded to detainees, as well as to restore family links. If there are any complaints in relation to the conditions of detention or the treatment, we discuss this with the relevant authorities confidentially and bilaterally with the aim to improve those conditions. Public information about ICRC detention visits all over the world is always general and we do not disclose specific information or personal and medical data, which always remains confidential. We cannot inform the media and make public statements about detained persons or give details of the visits. Information on the health condition of the detained person is shared only with the families, provided the detainee agrees,” he said.
Rahm added that the ICRC does not have the authority to negotiate the release of detained persons.
“Sometimes there is confusing information disseminated in media that the ICRC can negotiate the release of detained persons. That is not the case. The ICRC plays a role of neutral intermediary only if the detaining authority expresses its will to release a person. As a neutral intermediary, we have participated in the logistics of the return of many persons held in relation to NK conflict. I would like to repeat that it is not the ICRC who decides the release of detained persons, but the detaining side,” he noted.
In July of 2014, Russian citizen Dilgam Asgarov and Azerbaijani citizen Shahbaz Guliyev were taken hostage and another Azerbaijani citizen Hasan Hasanov was shot to death by Armenian servicemen while trying to visit their homeland in Kalbajar. Hasan Hasanov’s body was taken from the enemy and buried in Baku.
On December 19, 2014, an illegal court of the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh sentenced Dilgam Asgarov to life in prison and Shahbaz Guliyev to 22 years.