YEREVAN — More than 300 Armenian soldiers and civilians remain unaccounted for after the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia’s human rights ombudswoman, Kristine Grigorian, said on Tuesday.
“According to data presented by the International Committee of the Red Cross in August 2022, 303 persons are still considered missing as a result of the 44-day war in 2020,” Grigorian said in a statement marking the International Day of the Disappeared.
The figure presumably includes ethnic Armenian residents of Karabakh. About two dozen local civilians were listed as missing as of September 2021. According to the authorities in Stepanakert, most of them lived in Karabakh towns and villages captured by Azerbaijani forces during the six-week hostilities stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire in November 2020.
“The lack of cooperation by Azerbaijani authorities makes it impossible to accurately estimate the number of missing persons, obtain credible information about their fate or whereabouts, and ascertain whether they are still alive,” read a separate statement released by the Armenian Foreign Ministry on the occasion.
Grigorian similarly accused Baku of providing “distorted or no information at all on the prisoners of war, civilian captives, and missing persons” in breach of international humanitarian law.
Armenian soldiers are thought to make up a majority of the missing persons. Baku has acknowledged holding only 39 prisoners of war and civilian captives.
Human rights lawyers in Yerevan say they have documentary evidence suggesting that at least 80 other Armenians were also captured during the war. The Foreign Ministry statement described the Armenian prisoners as hostages.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, as many as 4,900 people from both conflicting sides have been missing since the start of the first Armenian-Azerbaijani war in 1991.